A warning to all those disenchanted Arsenal fans heaving a sigh of relief that the Unai Emery era has drawn to a close: while there are a number of credible candidates who could take his place, I don’t think there is a manager out there possessed of the kind of magic wand which would be needed to cure all the club’s ills overnight. Or, for that matter, any time soon.
I’d love to be able to blame our humiliating annihilation on the numbskull responsible for dressing us in a green kit, upon a grass pitch, but frankly that’s a feeble excuse. Saturday’s demolition served as a timely reminder of the enormity of the task facing Unai Emery.
A day after being put under investigation by Fifa for complaining about the refereeing of their 2-1 World Cup loss to Switzerland and misbehaviour by fans, Serbia’s football association has filed an official complaint with the sport’s governing body alleging “biased officiating” by referee Feliz Brych.
It seems churlish to use the word ‘crisis’ after only one defeat but Germany’s World Cup defence is looking increasingly nervous as criticism of Mesut Ozil reached abusive levels yesterday and players had to rebut reports of cliques and disunity in the camp.
When Arsenal lost 3-0 at home to the best team in England, four days after losing in the Carabao Cup final, there were some onlookers who described it as rock bottom. Now that statement is looking both over-ambitious and lacking in foresight.
An emphatic first win of the New Year does not definitively prove there is a bright future for Arsenal without Alexis Sanchez but manager Arsene Wenger confirmed his players had been destabilised by the uncertainty over the Chilean’s transfer to Manchester United.
If there were any suggestions that Manchester City’s solo waltz to the Premier League title would take all the drama out of 2018, then Arsenal and Chelsea provided the perfect riposte with a wonderful match full of skill, resolve, and scintillating football — from two teams who know they cannot win the big prize.
“We’ll be punished if we play like this on Saturday.” It’s not often the crowd at the Emirates grumbles in agreement, but that was the general sentiment in N5 just before 9pm last Wednesday.
Wayne Rooney completed his first Everton hat-trick with a stunning effort from inside his own half as manager-in-waiting Sam Allardyce watched a 4-0 Premier League victory over West Ham from the stands at Goodison Park.