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If Emery goes will Arsenal really suddenly get much, much better?

By Sir Hardly Anyone

The fact that Arsenal are fifth in the league and not challenging for the title raises many questions, most notably concerning the abilities of the manager and his future with hundreds of commentators calling for him to resign or be sacked.

Among the headlines yesterday we have had in the last couple of days are…

  • Arsenal already know who could replace Unai Emery if Gunners board sack him (The Express)
  • What is Unai Emery’s best Arsenal XI and why isn’t he playing it? (Metro)
  • Mesut Ozil sends timely message to Arsene Wenger following another Unai Emery snub (Football.London)
  • Raul Sanllehi and Edu face their first major test as Unai Emery goes against Arsenal ideals (Football.London)
  • “Would be the dream” – These Arsenal fans identify 42 y/o as their preferred choice to replace Unai Emery (Read Arsenal)”
  • “Vieira to Arsenal: A defensively sound manager who has learned from the best – What’s not to like” (Sport Witness)

What is missing however is any attempt to answer the most fundamental question: what will happen if Emery is sacked, or simply says, “With fans and media like this, what’s the point?”

And yet despite the fact that removing Wenger and replacing him has clearly not brought the future the anti-Wengerians wanted, they same people as wanted Wenger out, continue as before.     Thus as with the fanatical and continuous media and blogger campaign to get rid of Wenger there is still a sort of generalised assumption that removing the manager would remove  the final block to the glorious uprising of Arsenal, and the title would automatically be ours.

A major part of the problem is that there is an assumption that if Arsenal ask someone to join the club that man would be falling over himself to say yes and sign.   But there are many reasons why such a manager would not join Arsenal.

For example, he might not like the salary, or the fact that only a two year contract is on offer, or the smallness of the transfer fund, or the antagonism of the media, the constant sniping of fans through the blogs, the state of the current squad… and so on.  Why, if you are a really good manager would you want to face a media and supporters who are this antagonistic?

So rather than just swap the names of possible managers as most websites are doing I thought it might be more interesting to ask what could happen if Emery were to go now.   Here are just a few of the possible answers…

1: A new manager comes in and manages the existing squad in a much better way, taking Arsenal back into the Champions League and challenging in the way that Arsene Wenger’s team did around the turn of the century.

2: Yes a new manager would accept the job and have the chance to buy new players and sort out the squad, and we’d see what happened over time.  If he did not make a serious improvement within 18 months then he too, like Emery would be chopped.

3: Again a new manager would come in, and would realise that Arsenal could be challengers for the title if only the tactics were changed.  His view could be that the players are fine, only the style of playing is wrong.

4:  It turns out that Emery is a turnip, and two vegetables could do better than one.  Arsenal bring in a new manager and even though he is of modest ability he does much better with the squad because no one could be any worse.

5:  A new manager is identified but he says the media and blogs are right, the squad is full of dolts and needs refreshing but the owner won’t put up another £100m, so the new man is not appointed as the owner doesn’t want to spend another £100m.

6:  A new manager is appointed but from the off he is attacked with vile rumours about his private life, just as Wenger was when he arrived.  Only he lacks Wenger’s media skills, and the new man allows the story comes out and the media rejoice as they successfully scupper Arsenal’s plans as they tried to do with Wenger, but failed.  The new man resigns and the media lick their lips ready to do it again.  And again.

7.  Several managers are approached, but each agrees that without a budget the size of Manchester City’s, and a PR team the size of that operating around Buckingham Palace, nothing much can be done to improve on Emery’s results.

8:  The chosen manager says no, on the grounds that he has seen what Arsenal blogs say about the club’s manager, and what the media did to Wenger.  “I want to manage a team that has supporters, not denigrators,” says one candidate.

9.  The potential candidates laugh at the offer saying, “Until the PGMO is sorted there is no point in managing Arsenal unless you have a slush fund in the tens of millions.

10.  No one wants the job.

Of course if you believe that any of options one to four are right then you’ll believe we can bring in a new manager and things will be better.   But if any of the other results are right, changing the manager will either make no difference or will simply result in matters getting worse.

Remember in terms of the percentage of games won, Emery is the most successful Arsenal manager and all the candidates will know we are getting rid of our most successful manager.

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