Unai Emery – a.k.a the Spanish Bruce Rioch, a.k.a the Spanish Partridge, a.k.a Basque Brendan – is suddenly very talkative.
After 18 months at Arsenal where he said the same thing on repeat in every press conference, the man now can’t stop ‘opening up’ on what happened during his ill-fated spell in charge at the Emirates.
There was a problem with this, an issue with that. This didn’t go quite right. Nor did that. While we understand he’s probably trying to keep his name in the press so that he’s front of mind for future job opportunities, it’s all a bit tiresome.
Anyway, it’s the Winterlull, we’ve little else to do and you’re probably hungry for something more than pictures of Kieran Tierney’s mega thighs doing shuttle runs.
“We stopped this fall and even started to straighten the club with a Europa League final and a fifth place in the championship, only one place behind Tottenham while we only took a point in the last five games.
“We had the qualification for the Champions League in hand and it went wrong in the final. But it was a good season and we had the idea to continue this progression. But we lost our four captains: (Laurent) Koscielny, (Petr) Cech, (Aaron) Ramsey and (Nacho) Monreal.
“We have missed personalities this season to stay on track. And some stars did not have the right attitude and asked for more than they gave. Given all that, it would have taken more time to successfully transition to the new Arsenal that I wanted.”
Given the stats highlight a downward spiral in our goals scored, chances created and passes completed during his 18 months and an increase in chances and goals conceded, it feels pretty logical that ‘more time’ wouldn’t have seen things get better. In fact, they’d most likely have gotten worse.
A little dig at the attitude of some players is fair enough; they did pretty much give up on him…well, those that stuck around for long enough. Honestly, if you’re a coach and that becomes pervasive on your watch you’ve only yourself to blame.
And don’t get us started on justifying that first season as passable because we were ‘only one place behind Tottenham’. Jeez.