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
fell 2-0 to
in a performance that, while providing a plan in the opening 45 minutes, fell into a state of chaos in the second half.
It has always been criticized that
usually play like a team without a plan. On the contrary to these claims,
had a plan against
. 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,
’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,
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!
Sokratis has been a stalwart under
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.
Considering the club’s recent results and the statistics showing that
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.
At the start of the season, Arsenal’s targets for the year were quite clear: reclaim
qualification, ideally be securing a top-four position in thePremier League
or through winning the Europa League. At present, they are nowhere near to achieving those targets.
Prior to the weekend’s fixtures,
were six points off the top-four pace, both Chelsea and
standing at the other end of the gap. With Chelsea and
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.