This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking on talkSPORT, former Arsenal man Perry Groves has suggested the players have lost confidence in Unai Emery this season.
The Gunners manager has come increasing scrutiny in recent weeks after a disappointing start to the season, with the north London side currently in sixth in the Premier League table, but already eight points off fourth.
That form has led to speculation Emery could have just a month to save his job, and Groves has claimed the players at the Emirates have simply lost faith in the Spaniard.
He said: “What has happened is he’s got rid of the players he didn’t want, like the Monreals, the Petr Cechs, and Aaron Ramseys but then the players that have been brought in, whether it’s by him or the sporting director, they have actually got steadily worse.
“That intensity has got less and less and less with a team that he is supposed to be constructing. The thing from watching from the outside is there doesn’t seem to be a desire to do the horrible stuff. The thing with the Arsenal situation with Unai Emery is, if you watch them against Leicester, and I’ve been watching Arsenal a lot this year, there is no structure. There doesn’t seem to be any philosophy.
“Unai Emery doesn’t seem to know his best formation, he doesn’t seem to know what players to play in that formation and I think the players have lost confidence in him. I don’t think the players are getting him at the minute.”
When Emery first arrived at the Emirates in the summer of 2018, one of his key buzzwords included “protagonists“. The idea that the Gunners would have a team who would look to play on the front foot, be aggressive in their pressing and rally the crowd. Instead, the north Londoners have been the complete opposite of that – particularly in the Spaniard’s second campaign in charge.
Emery’s men have been far too chameleon-like, changing tactical structure and philosophy game-to-game, and unsurprisingly leading to wildly disjointed performances. The sheer number of shots they have faced on average in the Premier League this season (16.4 – the third-worst in the division) is largely as a result of not having a clear identity or game-plan. As Groves alludes to, it makes it difficult for the players to completely buy into their manager, when quite simply, the results just aren’t bearing fruit.