It’s been almost a week since the BATE Borisov debacle. Our 1-0 defeat in the first leg of our Europa League tie has put us firmly on the back foot for tomorrow’s return leg at the Emirates. I want to congratulate BATE Borisov on their historic victory, but Emery should not let that happen. We were weak, disjointed and lazy in front of goal missing a number of gilt-edged chances. Performances of this ilk can put any manager under pressure, let alone a man in his first season trying to oversee the monumental challenge of returning Arsenal to former glory.
I am a patient person and a firm believer in giving people time to succeed. This has been a key value of the club throughout our history evidenced by the long tenures of previous managers. However, in the age of instant gratification and 24 hour scrutiny, Emery can’t afford losses like this if he wants to be afforded that same patience. Understandably, his decisions have been questioned since our unbeaten run. With random form, it has looked like we are watching a new team every week. In addition, his stance on Mesut Ozil hasn’t been backed up with consistent performances and results. I still have faith in Emery and i’m hopeful ( probably naively) that we can have a strong finish to the season. Here’s a few reasons why I think he deserves our patience:
1) His job this season was to ensure we didn’t go backwards. So far he’s done that
Arsene Wenger will go down in history as one of the great humans, let alone football managers, of the modern era. Stepping into shoes that big cannot be easy. Poor results akin to the David Moyes scenario at Manchester United could have easily ensued, but instead, Emery took us on a 22 game unbeaten run. We now have it all to play for sitting in fifth one point behind fourth place. The FA cup loss to Manchester United was disappointing, and last week’s loss was devastating, but I won’t let that cloud the fact that on the whole, he has done well to keep us competitive since arriving in the summer.
2) Re-structuring is hard and requires time to get it right
With re-structuring there will always be some conflict. Bruce Tuckman’s team effectiveness model comes to mind as a great analogy. The model describes his four stages to team development, forming-storming-norming-performing.
He argues that these stages are both inevitable and necessary in the creation of any high performing team. With the poisonous Ozil situation, and the club appearing to be in a state of flux both on and off the field, we are hovering in the forming and storming zone. Time will tell if Emery is the right person to take us beyond the “storming stage”. Four wins from our next five fixtures would confirm he is.
3) Injuries, injuries and more injuries
This is the most important reason why I think he deserves patience. I firmly believe if we didn’t suffer the season long injuries to Bellerin, Holding and Welbeck we would sit comfortably in fourth. No team can lose three of their main 15 players and compete at their highest level.
Thursday night really is judgment day for the Manager. I’m confident he can turn it around and send us through to the next round.
Lastly, this fantastic piece written by Keenos on she wore a yellow ribbon, should be read and absorbed by any person who cares about this football club. I am in firm agreement that Victoria Concordia Crescit needs to mean something to every player, fan, owner and employee for us to get back to where we belong.
Come on Arsenal!