Sunday, April 21, 2024

Raul: We expect Unai Emery to finish in the top four

Arsenal’s Head of Football Raul Sanllehi says that after backing Unai Emery in the transfer market this summer, they expect the Spaniard to guide the team to a top four finish.

The Gunners ought to have achieved that last season, but just eight points from the last twenty-one meant we missed out, and now have to contend with the Thursday > Sunday grind of the Europa League.

However, after a summer in which the club’s transfer record was smashed with the £72m purchase of Nicolas Pepe, along with the arrivals of David Luiz, Gabriel Martinelli, Kieran Tierney and the loan signing of Dani Ceballos, there’s no hiding place for Emery at the end of this campaign.

Speaking at a fan’s forum event this evening, Sanllehi, said “We said to Unai that we just missed out on qualifying for the CL last year, but this year with a stronger squad, we expect you to do that.”

Right now, Arsenal sit third in the table, just a point behind Man City, but Premier League performances have been unconvincing.

Emery has produced exciting performances in the cup, so let’s hope when the Interlull returns we can see an improvement in the way we play, because that will increase our chances of winning games.

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I hope we (in the chronological order)
1) Finish in the top 4 this season
2) Get rid of Emery
3) Bring in Arteta
4) Start a dynasty


I don’t want to play Pep ball. I’d rather watch Brighton than Citeh.


Yeah and you’d rather watch Unai play 3 DMs against Sheffield.
Thanks, but not thanks.


You remember when we really did not have holding midfielders? Now we seem blessed with them.


Not to come down too hard on Raul here, because he has done a fantastic job to really get us pointing in the right direction since he’s taken the reins. But – what he said kind of bugs me a bit if I’m honest. Personally I believe this whole ambition we’ve had of ‘getting back in the top 4’ has been the exact reason why…. we are in fact not in the top 4 currently. Just to explain myself a little; previous we obtained a place in the top 4 every year because European football is by-product of what we… Read more »


I don’t think Mikel Arteta would set up to play like Pep, he would be a good coach who would play attacking football but not such endless possession for the sake of it.


You’ll never concede while in control of the ball, Possession for possessions sake is a myth mate,


So, you think Arteta would be a good “coach” – whatever that means to you.

Okay, based on what, his fooking haircut?
He’s never managed a side. That’s a ridiculous notion.

And hiring a former players w/o any meaningful managerial experience: look how well thats working out for manyoo.


I’d rather you were a Brighton fan to be honest,


5) Lose a few games with arteta
6) Call for arteta’s head


Better than watching boring football from a manager who can’t take risks in his setup.
No wonder he lost the Ligue with PSG, even though Ligue 1 is a 1 horse race.


But he still wagon a double and treble with them. Why sack him if he gets us into the top 4


Because he can get us in the top 4, nothing more than that.
Bigger targets require bigger ambitions.


No. It’s not. There are managers we could get who wre better than Emery. Arteta is not one of them.

I’d rather watch a million drab games Clockwork Orange style than go down this road.


Pep has a fair few luxuries that won’t be afforded at Arsenal, Foden 19 can’t get off the bench in the league, then the closest thing City have to a young player is Jesus who’s 22. This season we’ve started Saka 18, who’s still eligible for the under 18s, Willock 20, Nelson 19 we’ve got Martinelli 18 who’s knocking at the door, Smith Rowe 19 will be looking to get minutes, Guendouzi 20, and whilst he’s improved, he’s still far from an experienced player with any nous, Torreira 23 is still relatively young for a central player. Niles isn’t a… Read more »


How DARE you be objective at a time like this!?! 🙂


Have you noticed the way a different midfield setup in the Cup competitions has dramatically altered the way we play? A few tweaks to our starting lineups, a few instructions to the players to have a go at the opposition, a little more emphasis on quick passing in training, and a greater commitment to play entertaining football — even Emery could make the difference himself if he believed in it (his protagonist philosophy should be open to it). We don’t need revolution. This “make us hard to beat” stuff is a fallacy; against severe competition, sure, but top four teams… Read more »


Great comment, Fair play


You had me until:
“Ozil has downed tools since the ink dried on his new deal, he’s finished as a player at the top level.”

Yet another speculative, ridiculous comment. How is it you know he’s “downed tools?” Do you attend all the training sessions?
Clearly not, so you are talking out your ass.

A Different George

The only things we know, as fans, is how Ozil looked in the few minutes he has appeared. He looked enthusiastic, energetic, and, of course, often brilliantly talented. He looked very unhappy to be subbed off. He seemed to have a good rapport with his teammates. That’s all we actually know. The rest is propaganda


Mertesacker, Emery and Raul have all questioned Ozil’s commitment and work ethic.

I’m choosing to believe Emery isn’t a petulant child, who’s looking to make an issue where there isn’t one.

The reason I think he’s finished as a top level player, is because I’ve watched him, and other than the odd moment of magic, his performances have been in the toilet for a very long time.

In fact I’d go back further than the ink drying on his new deal, and say the last run of consistent form, was the first half of the 2015/16 season

Pepe Le Pew

Monaco had a wonder season that year Leicester style. He rectified the following year and won it . He played some very attractive football leading to the master class against Barca. Only to be robbed by referees decisions on the 2nd leg. If I have to deviate from UE next year, I d rather we give Freddie a shot rather than Artet who s no guardiola.


Well said!
A couple of names from that Monaco squad:

Bernardo Silva,
Benjamin Mendy,


I wasn’t aware that masterclasses involved losing 6-1.


I know this a joke but that’s also our job as fans! We’re the ones who set the ultimate tone for all of the club. If we don’t have high standards, then no one else is going to have them for us


Having high standards for the club.
What the hell is that even supposed to mean.
Futball is a sport. Any given side can win at any given time. Players are human and make mistakes. And Prem in its current state is pretty even – meaning, despite some large point differences, the differences between is less than it ever has been.

High standards … you mean, twatish, new supporters feeling entitled to talk nonsense. No, thank you.

Guns Up

It means expecting one of the biggest, richest clubs in the world to perform like one of the biggest, richest clubs in the world, at a time when money determines success in football more than ever before. Pretty self-explanatory really.


Come one dude, what do you mean by “new supporters” and why do you need to bring it up and if you are implying you are not the “new supporter” what magic powers does this bestow on you then…

Dont have issues with the points you are trying to make, but discrimination like this just twattish.

Stop feeling entitled, you are on the internet and most of us don’t give a crap even if you held a Phd in all things Arsenal.
(as most wont about this post)


Bringing in a totally untried manager simply b/c he used to play here is nuts- see Ole at United or Henry at Monaco. There are lots of young promising managers right now – the guy at Ten Hag at Ajax or a few German ones- giving Arteta his first job at Arsenal could end horribly. Zidane & Pep at least managed their B squads who unlike reserve sides in England, play in an actual league – they simply can’t be promoted if they win.


Yeah but you want someone who’s been around the club a long time, understands it’s values and principles. Goes to every game. Has a great rapport with the fans.

Got to be gunnersaurus for me.




You need a manager and not a romantic guy who “understands the clubs bla bla”….Guardiola never played for city and yet manages one of the most powerful clubs, Klopp never played for Liverpool yet he made that club strong again, now Ole played for united so just see the table, exception is Zidane but even he gets it wrong sometimes …etc… a manager is a manager, you`d rather bring in outsiders than hire former players as managers….my opinion.

Michael Bolton Wanderers

Ten Hag and especially Julian Nagelsman are very interesting coaches for me


Yeah but can they save a penalty with their face?

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

We can’t blame Henry for his experience in Monaco though. He got a very bad group of players. Jardim came back and only managed to avoid relegation and they’re still a bad team. Guys like Golovine are very bad players with very weak menal toughness.

Dave M

Guess Thierry just doesn’t have swag as a manager…


Pretty sure that’s exactly what we are gonna do with Freddy.


Arteta is not a football manager, and besides players do not like him because he is full of himself.


Says you! Ha.


Yes they don’t like him at all. That’s why he was so unappreciated when he went ahead and gave a speech when he was injured to the whole team before a FA cup final if I’m not wrong?

But yeah Arteta is kind of full of himself twat that only helped Santi to settle ar Arsenal fast


Why Arteta? We have Freddy!


I like Freddy, but he isn’t dynamic enough for Arsenal. We need someone with charisma, leadership, perfect hair, husband of Miss World winner, in other words, Mikel Arteta.


Sure, but was Arteta ever an underwear model?!


How the hell would you know that mister insider? He’s not dynamic enough? Do tell us how you watch every single U21 U18 U16 U9 games to come to that conclusion

Pepe Le Pew

Lol. He has no passion when he speaks. A little voice you can hardly hear. He is too soft . Freddy would take no nonsense and he has a bit of playful nastiness Jurgen style. #ljunbergpresident! I mean coach !!

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Arteta? What has he done yet?


Won all the domestic titles in England, working along a great coach and manager.


You mean underneath, credit where credit is due.

Tony Adams Nose

Calling for Emery to go before he has a chance to play Bellerin, Tierney and Lacca in the same team this season is a bit premature don’t you think? Pricks! Fuck off and support totnumb!


Tony Adams Nose…If I could thumb this up 1000 times I would. I am not convinced Unai is the answer, I just believe he deserves the same chances I would ask for if I were in his position. What a bunch of namby pamby fans or rather wanna be fans


…and HoldenontoArsenal, I would have thumbed your comment up a thousand times too. I certainly have issues with some Emery decisions (insisting on playing Xhaka when we’re better both defensively and offensively without him is the biggest). But, hey, let’s allow the man with a fair bit more management experience than any of us have a go first.


Get a room

willie tuazama

Watch my words, Emery will not Play any of these Players you name together


The most logical comment so far


I hope we:
Stop seeing silly comments on this space, and instead supporters support the club.


You can support the club, but not the manager. They’re not mutually exclusive…

Naija gooner

I’d rather have bergkamp than arteta at this point but let’s give unai a chance

Naija gooner

… Meant to say Freddie


As much as Emery must bear the blame for how we play, I doubt that our current form is satisfactory for him, and not his goal. If he can turn it around and play better football then credit to him, if not he should be shown the door. With our squad we should play better stuff, but I’m sure Spurs and United fans think the same thing.


Forget spurs and utd. We could be too focused on them while Chelsea and leicester city creep ahead of us. Stop comparing us with other teams – if they want to be rubbish that is their business….it does not mean we have to be useless with them.

Ordnance Dave

Spot on. With some of the (proven) quality in our squad, the football should be way better than it is. Players like Auba will not want to stay, while we continue to struggle against relegation fodder like Manure.

Gunner pundit

Agree it doesn’t matter too much to Arsenal if united and Chelsea are rubbish. Emery if he played decent football and actually picked the best players people might show more patience but right now he’s I don’t think he’s a good enough manager for Arsenal football club. I hope he leaves for another team. Xhaka can go aswell

Teryima Adi

@Joe 71. Glory hallelujah

Ordnance Dave

See the problem with Arsenal is, we can’t get even try to walk it in anymore.

Scott P

Interesting quote from Raul on Ozil as well, seems to confirm what Per and Emery have said about lack of application in training.

Scott P

And just to add to this… after watching Bergkamp speak today, it struck me thinking about the difference in his dedication and rigor in training vs. what is reported from Ozil. Sure, you can be a good player without that, but if you want to be truly one of the greats, you have to keep your foot on the gas. We’ll never know the whole story, the comparison just opened itself fairly easily.


So for some reason, Ozil has played his entire professional career without ever having a manager question his dedication or work ethic, until the almighty Unai Emery? So we’re supposed to believe that all the other managers simply let him get away with it? It’s impossible to believe that he managed to get away with such a huge character flaw until the age of 30. Oh and btw, Unai Emery has a history of falling out with/not playing Ozil-type players. Besides falling out with Neymar and Ben Arfa, who admittedly are both pricks, he also didn’t play Lucas, Pastore, DiMaria,… Read more »


Erm even Mou questioned him. Ozil refers to that in his book.


Yes, he did and Özil openly talked about it : a proof that Özil had no shame about reporting it, that he felt Mou was right and that Özil changed. And Mou didn’t bear him a grudge and wrote a very emotional preface to his book.


Did Maureen not have a go at him in Madrid days?
Also reports were that under Wenger Ozil was like teachers pet who gave Ozil special treatment to take it easy. Maybe that worked to some degree but I don’t think anyone can argue that he was consistently brilliant under Wenger.
Seems that approach doesn’t fly with Unai who treats all as equal and expects the same from all. Frankly I’m on his side. I’m not sure it’s healthy to have a member of a team getting special treatment.


Which reports? Sources, please? And not the Daily Mail or the Sun, please. Oh, yes, Ramsey said Mesut was often in the office of Wenger. But how did Aaron know? Was he lurking aound the office of M. Wenger too?


Well you have a point BUT you ignore one major point –
He always had to be professional to be a part of the national team set up until his breakup after the world cup. He no longer needs to stay motivated or train as hard because he has a fat paycheck either way and this was precisely what Arsene mentioned after he left Arsenal when asked about Ozil’s premature retirement. It is a detriment to the club and Emery is facing its wrath.


If I got a boss that I like and get along I give my everything, if my boss is guy that thinks like in the Victorian ages I do the bare minimum just to get a pay check


Yes, interesting and very insightful (…) quote indeed “work hard”. So what is “work hard” for UE? If this is the same kind of football than on the pitch, running most and ignoring link play and attacking talent… Maybe Suarez was also working harder than Özil last season ? I can also pretend Özil doesn’t do enough without anyone watching or knowing. But the point is that if you never offer competitive football to a player, how can he be motivated and FIT to work hard… But well, what does an Özil know about football and it’s so easy to… Read more »


I know lots of people who are expected to perform above and beyond what would seem reasonable, even though their employer offers little in the way of motivation or compensation. I actually expect footballers – like any other employee of any company – to work hard. Even if they’re not constantly rewarded. But if they’re paid wagonloads of money, I expect them to give absolutely 100% every day regardless of whether they’re in the store speaking to customers, or sweeping the floor of the warehouse. Footballers are people too. Sure. People need motivation. But so do people in every other… Read more »

Scott P

It’s less interesting because of the content and more interesting because it confirms that Emery seems to have the club’s support in excluding Ozil from the team. For the record, I wasn’t saying I agree with it either.

Peter Story Teller

To be honest if we can keep Holding, Chambers, Tierney and Bellerin fit this season we should be looking at top two!
Liverpool have had too much of a headstart to catch but to play as unconvincingly as we have until now and only be one point behind Citeh in third just shows that every other team this season is shite as well!


Tierney, holding, luiz, Hector first choice back 4 for me. Chambers and Papa on bench


Only a football fan could watch something horrendously underperform week in week out and still hope for a positive outcome.

You keep going son, the world needs people like you.


HelderHughes today you servedcan me two sumptuous ones like ozil of old’s killer passes.

Paul Roberts

I stand with Peter Storey Teller. x

Peter Story Teller

Cheers Paul, you even got the reference to the great Peter Storey from the 1970’s by spelling his name correctly unlike me!


I think we need to keep every body else fit as well, not just a handful. Oh with the exception of captain marvel! he can break his leg playing for Switzerland and be out for the rest of the season – then we can play Chambers in the CDM role. Captain marvel can continue being our motivational mascot in the dressing room because he is useless in the field of play

Naked Cygan

What about a Capitan who is not scared of Watford? Let’s start with baby steps. When the ball is coming that it in the face or head it away, not duck your fking head…how about that? Then we can talk about top 4….


The ball deflected over his head as he went to head it…

A Different George

It is hopeless. No matter how many times you watch the replay, where it is completely apparent that Xhaka is bending his head in order to head the ball away before it deflects much higher–no matter how many times you watch this, there will be many Arsenal “supporters” who will repeat that he ducked. (Just for clarification, Xhaka is no favourite of mine; against a side like Bournemouth or Sheffield, I would like to seer a midfield of Torreira and Guendouzi behind Ozil). BUT HE DID NOT DUCK.

Paul Roberts

Agreed he may be many things but a “ducker” he is not! The people that think he ducked are internet wankers. Lots of them about.


Mind changing your nick to a beautiful female supermodel or something?


Third place.
Players returning. (top players)
Good young guns breaking thro.

Keep knocking Emery lads…….. you’re making me giggle.

Two points above drop zone.
Disjointed performances.
880 million spent since the Ass wipe left.
Four new managers (and counting)

Exactly what do the boo boys want at Arsenal?


Dont care what utd do…….What about when they were fantastic and winning the champions league and premiership at the same time? Where were we then?

You can see that comparing yourself with another team is very immature indeed. if it is our time to shine let us do it without expecting it is ok for us to be rubbish, just because our rivals are rubbish too.

Monkey knees

Results are the most important things, yes… But Arsenal should go to Watford and hold onto a 2 goal lead. Arsenal should go to United and beat the worst United side in memory. The handbrake is always on.


The .Man Utd side we played in March 2016 when the title was ours to win was arguably worse….and we lost to them !!


A type of football that doesn’t make me sleep? Or is it too much to ask?


Better compare us to Bury FC, Shank. You may feel better.


A perfectly fair expectation. They have done their job. Emery now has to do his. If he doesn’t, it’s goodbye.


Couldn’t agree more, it’s completely reasonable and dare I say expected with Man Utd, Sp**s and Chelsea all currently s**ting the bed. We do though, need to clean our sheets after the games we’ve played and make sure we don’t re-s**t the bed like we did last season. That metaphor was hard to keep going but worth it ?


Don’t agree about chelsea, they had a shaky start getting pummeled by United and drawing a couple, but since the start of September have won 5-2 away at Wolves, were unlucky to lose 1-2 at home to Pool, beat Brighton 2-0, and demolished Southampton 4-1 away. Their results look more convincing than ours and I would expect them to challenge for top 4, as long as injuries don’t strike.


And its the first year for their manager , just shows how incompetent emery is.

John C

Emery inherited a club that had been mismanaged for 10 years, Lampard didn’t


As simple as that.

Monkey knees

Our boring, lacklustre football lies squarely on Emerys shoulders, buuuuut, he IS getting results. Only 1 loss this season, away to the European champions… It does hurt watching us play right now, though…

Monkey knees

Stating facts, getting downvoted; I love the Arsenal online community ?


I downvoted you for the laughs to be honest…sorry

Monkey knees

? all is forgiven!


Perhaps the online community is looking beyond the superficial results and seeing how weak our defence and midfield are, how we are continuously being bailed out by Auba, how insipid our play is, how ineffective the team tactics are, how baffling the team selection is at times, and how our ‘results’ are more down to luck that could run out anytime?

Yeah, that could be it.


When you looking forward with fear against Sheffield United thinking that’s going to be the second lost of the season to the Championships of England ….


Good! Like Emery or not, we can’t marry ourselves to a situation if the results aren’t there.

Last thing we need is another Leicester-gate, this time top-4 instead of champions.

We’re not losing, we just need to find a way to win more and better.


Xhaka will be the death of Emery at Arsenal – he is Mustafi mark 2


Its this attitude that needs to stop.

Get behind the team, instil confidence in them, and maybr just maybe thst will echo into their performances.

Was the same at the end of Arsene’s tenure, but it needs to stop.


I’d like to see Arsenal win trophies, but ultimately, as a fan, most of the joy I get is from watching the team play exciting football. The season is almost a year long, and if I have to endure a year of useless, boring drivel just so that I can see us make the top four at the end of the season, then I’d rather not watch football anymore. But it shouldn’t even be a matter of either we play good football, or challenge for titles. WE CAN DO BOTH. I started supporting the club in 2004. I wasn’t a… Read more »

Flavoured Rice

Well said. My sentiments exactly. People forget that the joy of watching your team is one of the best reasons for supporting it. Now watching Arsenal is about as exciting as watching a spin cycle in my washing machine.

The last 2 years have been the only seasons in my memory where I actually have been so bored watching Arsenal that I’ll multi task and do other things.
I figure since we only create about 2 to 3 chances a game the odds are in my favour that I won’t miss much if I look away.

Dave M

The boring football starts and ends with our current captain. When he doesn’t play the team plays much more dynamic free-flowing football. We have the pieces to get results and play good football…but right now Emery is completely infatuated with Xhaka. Credit Xhaka he must work REALLY hard in training and be an absolutely stand-up dude (or he walked in on Emery in bed with the wrong person) because he has the manager convinced and defending him after every game (that in itself – that he has to defend him so often and not credit him for his good play-… Read more »


I agree. We’ve been waiting more than a year for the team to gel. Last December we beat Spurs playing attractive confident football and I thought we had turned a corner, it was a false dawn. In mitigation, shortly after we lost Holding and Bellerin. I still have some hope, even though it is the hope that kills me.

Flavoured Rice

I’m torn. I want us to finish in the top four but if we do so then it’s likely they will extend Emery’s contract, and that we will be stuck with anti football for the foreseeable future. That would be depressing. Laca and Auba will then get old and stop bailing Emery out and we’ll end up signing more Emery type players who don’t like to play football. I fear we could end up like UTD in a season or two. At least if we don’t make top 4 Emery will get the sack. I’d be ok with that. Well,… Read more »


It’s a good point, cup games tend to have more goals. Is the pressure for results making Emery more pragmatic in the premier League? I mean all you have to do right now is not be as shite as anyone outside the top2 and everyone seems to be having some issues this season.


Collin Millar (football journalist) was pointing out how a lot of the Bundesliga teams are now filled with ex-coaches from Red Bull Salzburg. I reckon one of them would be interested in the Arsenal job in a year’s time. Tapping their network of playing talent won’t be bad either. They have been doing excellent work in scouting, coaching and selling. Do your thing, Raul!


sh** that means he is here until the end of the season.


Interesting flex by Raul.


This sounds like a warning. My issue is that if the players don’t like the manager, they could play poorly to force him out. If they know not finishing in the top four would get rid, could they intentionally do so? It’s happened before.


It IS a warning. If Emery doesn’t get top four then I’m sure he’ll be gone.

To be honest we’ve got absolutely no excuses if we don’t finish in at least 4th spot. Liverpool and City are on a different planet to everyone else, but United and Spuds are a shambles right now; and the Chavs have a rookie manager and a transfer embargo in place – and they’ve just lost their best player. On paper we are about the 3rd best team in the division.

But a lack of defensive solidity and dodgy team selections could cost us.


Make Arsenal Sevilla Again


Emery needs to go, wherever we end up in the table, he’s sucking the life out of the football.

Rishabh Kant

I find it a little discomforting when Raul separates himself from Unai. Its like us v/s them. Interesting outlook to begin with. Nobody wants to take the accountability. If Unai didn’t get us top 4, it is Unai’s fault. Find this attitude strange.

Dan nichols

I am not where most of you seem to be yet, maybe because i remember late Mee, Howe, late Graham and the last season of wenger. and how much i just want us to win. Boring boring Arsenal beats losing losing Arsenal everytime for me, plus i think its probably really hard to manage a team in the premier league at the end of an era as long and singular as Wengers. (Its said elsewhere on here but see United, or even liverpool after the eventual break up of the Shankly cabal). I felt that by most external measures Emery… Read more »


Sanllehi said: “Unai’s policy has always been to play the ones that work hard in training.”

Dear Mr Mangan,
Why have you not also quoted the above from Raul? Because it doesn’t fit your narrative?


Maybe because it is old news at this point.


I feel like the pressure of qualifying for top 4 is making our already conservative manager way more conservative.

I am not sure if it’s better to suffer this risk free safe football and qualify for the CL and continue the same brand of football OR take a gamble and change the manager next season regardless of where we finish this year.


Calm the F down kids, not sure any of us can stand a whole season of you calling for Emery out.

It’s too early to think this is the way we will play, the team has very low familiarity right now. I think we all expect the PL performances to improve, just stop being so goddamn hyper triggered.

Get a grip!

Paul Roberts

Can everyone stop being so cross for no reason please??

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