Flying Foxes title race against Arsenal: Lessons Learned?

Sunday10 November 2019 | 11:23
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Despite their 2-0 win against Arsenal which propelled them above Manchester City into second in the Premier League, the manager claimed that they are not really thinking about the title race.

The victory means that


move above Manchester City and Chelsea

with 26 points from 12 games, five behind Liverpool but nine clear of fifth-placed Sheffield United.

The Unai Emery era at


keeps on to spiral completely out of control, this time losing to a direct top-four rival in

Leicester City


The Gunners

fell 2-0 to

the Foxes

in a performance that, while providing a plan in the opening 45 minutes, fell into a state of chaos in the second half.

1. Unai Emery had a plan

It has always been criticized that


usually play like a team without a plan. On the contrary to these claims,


had a plan against

Leicester City

. Unai Emery came with a plan, and for the large part, it was a successful one.

Using a 3-4-3 shape out of possession,



Leicester City

’s center-backs to have possession, matched their two full-backs and defensive midfielder with the front three, used Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi to shut down James Maddison and Youri Tielemans, while the wing-backs opposed the Leicester wingers and the back three simply played a sweeping role against Jamie Vardy.

It was a very clever defensive set-up that helped nullify


’s attacking threat, especially in situations when Brendan Rodgers’ side had clear possession. In transitions,

the Gunners

were not so as well-structured and sometimes struggled to regain their shape quickly, but in static situations in the match, they looked like a well-drilled team.

However, Emery’s plan was not a sustainable way of winning matches throughout an entire season. The approach was by no means the attacking, creative, ‘protagonist’ identity that Emery extolled upon his arrival. Although it was nice to see a defined plan implemented appropriately, the plan only lasted for 60 minutes!

2. Arsenal’s forgotten man making his claim

Sokratis has been a stalwart under

Unai Emery

since his arrival, but for the first time in his


career, the Greek defender was dropped from the starting XI, first appearing in the Europa League three days earlier and then sitting on the bench in the most important match of the campaign thus far, even when he is completely on form.

As his replacement, Calum Chambers excelled in holding a midfield position. He was extremely active defensively, marshalled Jamie Vardy superbly, played out from the back sensibly and intelligently, while also positioning him well, both when the ball was on his side of the field, pushing wide to close down crosses or when the play was progressing on the opposite flank, tucking in to shield the back post.

As a versatile player, Chambers has predominantly started at right-back this season. This was his first serious start at center-back, and he was mightily impressive. Upon his return from a year-long loan at Fulham, Chambers is making his claim to be a regular starter. And given Emery’s team selections this week, his manager might well be listening.


The manager is more to be blamed for the loss than the players


players did not play well on Saturday night but the players are not to be blamed. That does not mean they ought to be totally exculpated of the responsibility for their recent performances, but it does mean that they are not the sole problems in the team right now. This is a poorly coached team with the players being put into wrong situations.

By tinkering tactics, changed systems, a lack of identity, no clear-cut philosophy and system, players playing in roles that they are not suited to,


finds itself in crisis.

4. The Arsenal Board backing Emery

Considering the club’s recent results and the statistics showing that


is taking


backward, he deserves to be fired. But


is not the only one responsible for the present mire at the club. There are others involved in the process and they are equally responsible for the dropped points.

While it is


who is in charge of the team, the board are in charge of him. They decide who is the head coach of the team, and it is quite clear that the man is currently in that role is not the right one. He has presented his inability to turn around the fortunes of the team.

5. Title contenders fading targets

At the start of the season, Arsenal’s targets for the year were quite clear: reclaim

Champions League

qualification, ideally be securing a top-four position in the

Premier League

or through winning the Europa League. At present, they are nowhere near to achieving those targets.

Prior to the weekend’s fixtures,

the Gunners

were six points off the top-four pace, both Chelsea and

Leicester City

standing at the other end of the gap. With Chelsea and


both winning,

the Gunners

could end the weekend nine points behind the top four. They slipped to sixth in the table behind Sheffield United. Should Aston Villa win on Sunday, they will be only four points above the 17th.

These are utterly unacceptable results. Even disregarding the performances,


are not winning the games they should, snatching the draws they deserve, and gaining the points they require to finish in the top four. Beyond all of the other issues, that is enough to get a manager sacked.


has always been a big club worldwide and they need to act like one both on and off the football pitch; otherwise, they could fall further and further into mediocrity. It is time for the club to take matters into their own hands and change their fortunes themselves.

source: SportMob