Friday, June 2, 2023

Emery: I have the freedom to work for the long-term

Unai Emery says he has the backing of Arsenal’s hierarchy to implement his long-term vision for the club although he admits winning games is the only way to maintain that freedom.

The Spaniard knows that returning the Gunners to the Champions League is his number one priority this season but he has been led to believe that he won’t be solely judged by results on the pitch.

Currently sitting fifth in the league, struggling for form away from home and with a tough FA Cup clash against Manchester United on the horizon, Emery might have expected a cash-injection to add new faces in the January transfer window.

Having confirmed that he’s only in the market for loan deals and with Sven Mislintat, the club’s head of recruitment, seemingly set for a surprise exit after 18 months, questions are starting to be asked of the stability of the post-Wenger structure at the Emirates.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s crunch clash with Chelsea, Emery remains optimistic, even though he knows the football landscape is quick to change.

“After my experiences in Spain, in Russia and in France, I believe that here, people see football in a very distinct way,” he told Sky Sports.  

“As well as the teams being more competitive and tougher, I believe the fans feel football from the heart.

“The question of whether you win, lose or draw is very important, but there is always a respect towards football beyond just the result.

“That means you can do a more progressive job, a job based on building from the bottom without only thinking about results, because sometimes, a result can hide solid foundations.

“As a manager, I have always put myself under the pressure of the necessity to win. You know that winning will allow you to either continue what you’re doing or to find another project. And you know that if you lose, they will take the project you already have away from you.

“But at Arsenal, it’s maybe the first time I feel that I have the support to build up from the bottom in order to get where we want to be.

“It allows us to work more for the long-term – or at least, ‘long-term’ in football terms. It supports the kind of work we want to do at this club.”

Having conceded 32 goals in the league this season – four more than 14th placed Crystal Palace – but with the division’s third best attack, it’s clear that Emery has struggled to balance the squad inherited from Arsene Wenger.

He accepts that things have to improve, especially at the back, although he doesn’t want that to come at the expense of his side’s ambitions in attack.

“There are things we have managed to improve but there are other things that need more time, and defensive consistency is one of them,” he says. “We still have a lot of work to do there.”

“When I arrived, we spoke about the Arsenal before Wenger, which was consistent in defence but didn’t have much brilliance in attack.

“In the transition under Wenger, it was about making the most of that defensive work and adding more quality in attack, which was when Arsenal were a winning team.

“But in the last few years it became different. It was a team which always had a great attack, with players who were very good technically, but with a very, very low level of defensive solidity.

“Now, we are in a transition where we are looking for a balance.

“I don’t want to lose all the good things about this team. There are times when defensively we have not been very solid, but we have still won because offensively we have created a lot of chances. So, at the moment, I am still leaning towards making sure the team doesn’t lose what it has. But yes, it’s true that we have to achieve greater defensive solidity.”

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Mick Malthouse

It would be nice to see some progression on the pitch. At present its all too familiar. At least he recognises the unbeaten run was on the back of our attack, and possible hid the defensive problems. He needs to flip the squad but I dont think he will get the backing necessary to do so!

Lord Bendnter

Building from the bottom….We are at the bottom
*Cries uncontrollably

Peter Story Teller

I think this is all a dream…
Manchester United looking enviously across at City becoming the top team in town. The re-emergence of Liverpool as a force to be reckoned with. Hopefully I will wake up before I start believing that the Spuds are ruling North London rather than Arsenal!

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Now that Kane got the two months of rest he deserves (to be diplomatic), Spurs surely will not qualify for CL. Man U is the threat for us.

Tony Adams Nose

You need a reality check sir. The bottom isn’t 5th! I was expecting a much rougher ride than we have had so far. Of course Emery is going to put his stamp on the team and the ones who can’t live with it will go. New players will come in and next season the team will look pretty different. We have great attacking players and our defense are often blamed for defensive midfield errors. This he has come along way with trying to put the midfield right but we are not there yet. Taking over a top team is a… Read more »


Cant blame the millenails, we have to blame thier parents generation for allowing them to be the way they are. 🙂
I sir agree with you, Emery needs time to succeed.


That analogy relating current struggles to the transition between Graham and Wenger is quite interesting (although the fact that we ran through a couple of managers then is less promising for his purposes).

He speaks well, Unai, and he seems to have a sense of what he’s doing. It really makes me want to believe.

Given the fucking shambles we are as an organization, however, I can’t quite get there.


Fuck kroenke!…. Please bring in Dangote.. Someone who loves the club


“out of the frying pan,into the fire” springs to mind.

Lord Bendnter

“Dangote knows he can’t buy Arsenal, he doesn’t even have the plans to, he is just interested in the publicity he is getting from it. He even hinted this in a June 2015 interview with Forbes when he said buying Arsenal will help put Nigeria on the map. “This is how he put it: “The issue is that if I buy all the Nigerian clubs, the Nigerian flags will continue to remain here. Buying Arsenal will take the Nigerian flag worldwide. Just like whenever (Chelsea owner), Roman Abramovich is mentioned, the name of his country comes up. Everyone knows he’s… Read more »


Dangote is a stooge of the ruling clique..I dont even think he has that money buy a club like Arsenal!! With due respect to Nigerians, I really think this guy is a fraud!! When you mention Chelsea owner people think (wrongly maybe)of what Russians are and when you hear Dangote you think(wrongly maybe) of what Nigerians are(allegedly)!

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Dangote is a business man. He proves that there is lot of money in Africa to be made which is what you and some others are struggling to understand. At states level China understands this and cocky western world never did.

La Defense

GunnerMzalendo, looks like you don’t do much thinking.


Never gonna happen mate. Kroenke will only divest of Arsenal when he’s done milking us of every drop. Or the fans make it untenable for him. We fans better be ready to protest by sitting our bums at home because it’s all going to shit mates.


It’s good to see Smith-Rowe, Willock and Nketiah doing good, but he also badly exposed Guendouzi, Iwobi but mostly AMN during the last match.

Now it’s time for Mavropanos.

Dobby the house elf

I am glad that Emery at least acknowledges the defence is an issue still. Just a shame the owner has done absolutely nothing to help fix that, really.


Apart from five defensive minded signings.I hate Kroenke but its not like Emery didn’t receive any support from the club,he deserves more obviously but we should be doing better.

Dobby the house elf

Sure, but I mean Mustafi still starts for us, we don’t have a competent back up for Bellerin and our starting left back is a wing back. I don’t think we made a long term defensive investment in the summer


You said “absolutely nothing”.hence I bothered to reply.

Roll Overmars

He seems quite focussed on bottoms. And building them. Perhaps this will help the players run faster?


You mean he’s an Arse man?


I really like Emery, he’s got a plan and a vision, and it looks as if he knows exactly what he wants and what he doesn’t want. He needs time to work, looking at our signings in the summer, which were nothing other than functional, I certainly wasn’t expecting a upturn in our fortunes anytime soon. Our squad is simply dysfunctional, despite having some star names, I’ve never been convinced we can play the likes of Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Mkhitaryan, Xhaka, Kolasinac together in our starting lineup, against strong opposition without leaving ourselves open to a possible drubbing. Whoever our… Read more »


100% true. Most of Emryout are Ozil fan boys. Don’t get me wrong, I am Ozil fan too but for me Arsenal is top priority over any player or manager. Be it Emry or any other manager. new managers need time to settle. We can’t follow Manu. To be honest, they were winning titles more often than not with SAF and it is almost impossible for any manager to deliver same success. Regarding Arsenal, it will be difficult to get World class manager given how much transfer money we have. Even if Emry goes out, who is the next one?… Read more »


Well said Rich.


This is great from Unai, but we have had this from Arsene in the past, it means nothing if it is not backed by the right team and finances. That being said, I really wish Arsenal fans in the UK protested more. We need to make a lot of noise, find a unified, credible voice for our displeasure with Stan and the board because nobody takes THAT youtube channel with the angry fans seriously.

Tony Adams Nose

We only hear complaints about Kroenke when we lose. During the last winning run, no-one mentioned a word about the owner. I don’t much like any team owner and never liked the Hill Woods, but these little spoilt brats who weren’t even alive when we really sucked need to grow the fuck up!


Exactly! Kroenke isn’t responsible for our players not tracking runners!


Does anyone remember this story?

Interesting that a manager who could be sacked after 2 seasons with zero compensation feels that “But at Arsenal, it’s maybe the first time I feel that I have the support to build up from the bottom in order to get where we want to be”…

Then again, looking at what has happened since Gazidis left, who knows what Sanllehi or whoever is meant to be running things behind the scenes now has planned. Good times! ( ; __ ; )

Dobby the house elf

He probably means that within that time frame he will be given the chance to build something where some clubs would sack a manager after 4 months if they didn’t immediately turn things around

Yes. Has someone already given him the third year of the contract? Sorry, but when we signed him, I thought he was more caretaker than long term solution.

When in doubt, blame the manager!

The problems with Arsenal lie deeper than the manager.

Anyone who thinks sacking Emery – a man who somehow managed 22 games unbeaten with a shit squad – is a good idea probably needs to reasses their view of how our club currently ranks amongst the top 6 teams in England.


i have seen very few calls for him to be sacked. The only ones who have are the usual suspects on here who don’t live in the real world.


Unfortunately I’ve been seeing nothing but ‘Emery out’ on social media forums.
As mentioned before we have a seriously toxic fan base. It’s embarrassing & sad to see…

Paul Roberts

Thankfully our “fanbase” as you call it is not on social media. 🙂


I haven’t seen it, but then I’ve blocked anyone who is of that particular persuasion anyway.


22 games which, for the most part, Arsenal would be expected to win. The squad is not shit, there are some good players here but he’s not getting the best out of them and/or he’s not playing them.


To try and dismiss a 22 unbeaten run is pretty poor. Everyone got hysterical about Man Utd and their 5 game unbeaten run…and yet they were all teams they should beat too. Then they played Spuds who are deemed as the Golden Team despite not winning anything. Not surprisingly they couldn’t beat David De Gea and their 6th win resulted.

I’m digressing. People need to do more research before they try to overlook what this manager has achieved. Is he perfect? Of course not, but he’s ours and we need to support him.


Many is the fanbase are out of touch with reality. The way you hear them utter the ‘out’, makes wonder what kind of expectations do they have??
Because the difference in squad quality between us and the rest of top 6 is very clear.
My guess, it has to do with Ozil. Maybe we’re confusing his supporters for the club’s. God knows he’s got alotta fanboys.


This is all very well and good but unless he gets real financial backing from the board our options are very limited. Doesn’t look like we can really move anyone on to raise significant funds and our academy troops, while eager, are almost definitely not ready for the premier league. Seems like all the talk of competing with top clubs in Europe stopped a long time ago and we’re just hoping some of the teams above us will implode.

Happy Days

Harry Kane is out for a few weeks, happy days


And Son at the Asian Cup, for up to 4 Sp*rs matches, if I’m not mistaken.


Doesn’t look like they’ll have the strength in depth to cope either, will probably play Eriksen and Alli into the ground. Hopefully they’ll fall back into the mix for top 4 but that still only leaves 2 spots for us, them, United and Chelsea.


A good time then for us to be getting our best fullbacks on the mend and try to get our shape back.

Pity they can’t get a decent warm-up before we head straight to Chelsea.


As painful as this will be for me, I’ll willingly wait till the end of the season + Summer transfer before I start lambasting the necessary people. Half way through the season now so personally I’ll believe in Emery to pull off some miracle.

Losing Sven admittedly sucks balls though..


Whatever people may say… This guy has my backing, I really do think he can win us trophies & take this team back to the top. Anyone expecting us to compete against Liverpool or Man City after this man has been in charge for over 6/7 months are really setting themselves unrealistic expectations. Look at the Liverpool team, Klopp got rid of all the dead wood & brought players he wanted… But then he was supported by the board & actually had a budget…. I was hoping we’d have a steady ship going by now but we’re far from it,… Read more »


As much as i like Emery and will back him all the way , the amount of rank amateurism this club have displayed over the last ten years blows my mind. Wenger was past his sell by date a good few years ago and we missed out on possible recruiting Pep or Klopp when we were more of an attractive destination. Our declined worsened and it feels we are now rudderless and lurch from one drama to another. If the company I work for acted this way , head would have rolled ages ago. Sending player out on loan with… Read more »


Sooner Xhaka and Mustafi are gone, sooner our defense would start to look good. Xhaka is just not that intelligent of a playmaker, who can find passes to break the press or begin attacks from deep. He has none of that. We need someone of Arteta like quality in that deeper long along with Torreira’s defensive cover.


I think the manager deciding to play Xhaka at left back and centre back in some of our recent games when there were other options didn’t exactly demonstrate managerial flair


Or maybe he was trying to find a place where Xhaka could play and not f*ck up!


To me that’s a bit harsh on Xhaka. He’s been put all over the pitch this season without a complaint and has done better than could be expected in some very unconventional roles for him. And when we’re not a shambles, he makes some excellent passes cutting through the lines and switching fields. Xhaka – Torreira has been our most composed midfield pairing by some distance. But we’ve not seen it anywhere near enough because of needing to cover other positions, suspension, and rotation. Him and Torreira in front of a back four has looked like one of our best… Read more »


I can’t believe you’re being downvoted for saying this, it’s true. Their arrival coincides with us not getting UCL football. Neither of them are Arsenal quality. Wish we had kept Santi for one more season, we’d be doing better with him guiding some of the younger players and putting in a few good performances against teams like Liverpool, City, Chelsea, and United.

Tim Miller

I fear that if things don’t improve quickly – on many levels, not just on the pitch – Emery will soon find out he’s on much thinner ice than he thinks…


I believe will have had a very sucessful first season if he achieve the following. 1) Premiel League a) Same or better position than last season, i.e. At least 6 place; b) more points than last last season; i.e. 63+ c) more points away than last season d) more points against the other big 5; ie. 6+ 2) FA cup quarter final or Europa League quarter final. I think he will mange that and we should not be too critical in the first year. then the summer signing will determine what we achieve next. rebuilding will take much more time… Read more »


Emery Unai

Paul Roberts

Stop being so rational!! 🙂


Is your analogy a big club mentality? Moyes didn’t last a season with Utd, Van Gaal + Maureen also ditched when Top 4 wasn’t achieved. Chelski have done the same. Not nice or proper I know but that’s the big club mentality. Just getting 6th is failure.

Dave Cee

I agree, but the above examples had top 4 level players. We, mostly unfortunately, do not


The EPL is a BIG 6 now, this big 4 is not applicable anymore. 6 teams who all have ambitions of TOP 4, 2 have to miss out each year. If my maths is correct anyways. The reality is Arsenal are a 3rd to 6th team. We are not top 2 and its shown again. For Arsenal, 4th is the goal. quicker fans accept it the more enjoyable thier support will be.

Christopher Wreh

When he got the job I said to myself that his first year can be a free hit, this season was always going to be ‘transitional’.

I am having to remind myself of this more and more often now. I’m a bit worried I have to say.


I mentioned start of season that Arteta was a poor choice. He would have gone head to head with Mslintat early on as he lacked experience. Unai has (CORRECTLY) bid his time. He let Mslintat and Sanheli do their thing whilst he got to grips with what he had on hand in the squad. Now that he is half a season in and sees the (OBVIOUS) limitations, he will throw his weight around. Things have correctly come to a head with Mslintat who has NOT been buying with sufficient strategic vision rather at expediency to ex Dortmund assets. And if… Read more »


IF you meant it you shouldn’t have to remind yourself lol. Maybe I am dense but I really don’t get where all the hysteria is coming from. Did anyone think we were going to go through the season not losing games…I mean there is only one team that has done it…and yes it was Arsenal, but the current squad aren’t fit to lace their boots.


Says a lot without saying a bloody thing, doesn’t he?


“When I arrived, we spoke about the Arsenal before Wenger, which was consistent in defence but didn’t have much brilliance in attack.“

I’m not sure Denis and Ian would agree with that one.


Nah it was still boring pre-Wenger

Paul Roberts

Ironically Emery did himself no favours with the unbeaten run.


This is a good thing. Contrary to what some prefer to imagine, Mslintat and Sanheli have had a patchy record at best. Some cast blame on Gazidis. Why? He is the money man. The transfer team is solely responsible with getting things right for the manager. Lets remember Gazidis was the one who brought in Mslintat and Sanheli in the first place AND they have had ample opportunity to address certain issues but have not done so. They made several KEY mistakes last Jaunary that did not help Wenger : 1) Instead of selling Alexis to City (where he wanted… Read more »


A football club is not a normal business because it deals with emotions and dreams. This is what makes it a strong business, because we’re captive consumers, we want to go to the match, buy the shirt and support the team. Fans and sponsors want to see attractive football and hopefully some silverware. Is football like we’ve been watching lately, 6th place and another year of Europa League enough for a club like Arsenal? Unai doesn’t have time, because things move too quickly for that. He needs to start getting the best out of all his players now, including Mesut… Read more »

don't forget

Dude this makes no sense to me. We spend so much money on players in the prime of their career and then Emery says he has no pressure to win now.. then why did we buy Laca, Auba, Mkhi, Papa, Leno, etc. etc. We should have brought in a bunch of young players to build toward something instead of being stuck with these players in the prime of their careers. The planning here seems awful.

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