Who’s sorry now Arsenal?

Published: Monday, 25 November 2019

‘Nothing is forever’. And how many times have I said ‘be careful what you wish for’? Both apply in equal measure at Arsenal.

I’d love to know how many Gunners’ fans left the Emirates on Saturday wondering why they had chased Arsene Wenger out of town?

Arsenal Wenger. The man oozed class. He still does. He was the perfect fit at a fabulous club steeped in tradition - a man who added a modern twist that meant Arsenal were able to compete with - and beat - the very best during his glorious years in charge.

Before you start typing your ‘outraged’ replies - let me remind you that Wenger delivered 19 consecutive seasons of CL football. Let’s not forget that he won three FA Cups in his last four seasons. The year Leicester won the title Arsenal were 2nd, having beaten them twice. It was the others that failed to stop Ranieri’s team.

Having said that - I remember writing that I too felt it was time for Wenger to leave when he did - not because he couldn’t do the job anymore, but because the atmosphere had become so toxic.

A bit like following Fergie, whoever took the job was on a hiding to nothing. That’s why I have some Sympathy for Unai Emery (Bruce Rioja). I don’t know him, but he seems a decent guy. He’s polite and he’s obviously good at his job or he wouldn’t have had the career that he’s had - but, he’s become a laughing stock. He’s ‘Mr Good Ebening’. We all wait for it. We all laugh. I don’t think anyone is looking to be unkind - it’s just funny. Why hasn’t somebody stopped him saying it? Even so, I fear it’s now too late for him to re-establish any credibility.

His players look confused. He looks confused. Arsenal fans are totally confused as to how their club has been reduced to this.

I don’t believe there is any great appetite to sack Emery, but Arsenal are going to have to make a change. The replacement must be Mikel Arteta. If they can’t get him now they’ll have to limp on with Emery until they can. Arsenal need someone that understands the club. Arteta does. Remember, he took a pay cut to join them when he left Everton. He ‘gets’ Arsenal.

‘What’s he done?’ is the usual cry when I mention him. What’s he done? He’s only been sitting with one of the best coaches in the world for the past three seasons. He must have a vast amount of knowledge stored away now. Go and get him Arsenal. Restore some dignity at the club.

Working with the best is the reason why I believe Everton should at least talk to Rui Faria, Mourinho’s long time No 2. Faria has worked with some of the best players in the world at some of the biggest clubs in the world. He’s out on his own now in Qatar and he’s got to be worth talking to. Somebody soon will get a very good coach in Faria.

Everton have got to make a change Dig back through these blogs and you’ll find I warned them about Silva - the man who’s always got out of town just before he’s been found out - until now. He’s not good enough. He’s a pretender. He’s got to go. He should’ve gone weeks ago. No - let’s be honest, he should never have got the job in the first place.

I hear that he’s still at Goodison because they don’t know where to turn. Here’s a couple of names - Chris Wilder, Faria, Sean Dyche, Eddie Howe, or David Moyes? Why not Moyes? He’s a better coach than he was when he left having gained a whole lot of different experience. ‘Never go back’ is an argument I keep hearing. Why not?

‘It didn’t work for Howard Kendall’ - agreed, but by the time Howard returned to Goodison he was already consumed by his demons. He wasn’t the same man that had left. Moyes is better, not worse at what he does.

Either that, or have a look further down the leagues. What about Alex Neil? What a fantastic job he’s done at Preston - ironically Moyes made the same journey. Or Gareth Ainsworth? Mark Robins? Why not? That’s how things used to work. A young coach would cut his teeth in the lower leagues and then get one of the big jobs. That’s how Martin O’Neill worked his way through. That’s how Danny Cowley is doing it, but it’s too soon for him. He’ll eventually get a big one though for sure.

From a time when I felt they might be on the cusp of competing with the top boys again it’s all gone horribly wrong at Everton. They hand to get things sorted out quickly or don’t rule out a really dangerous battle with relegation.

Another coat on a shaky peg is Manuel Pelligrini’s. Are we surprised? I’m not. £100m plus later they’re right back where they started - worse off than when Big Sam left them. Actually, that’s a bit of a theme - so are Everton! Teams usually are when Sam leaves. I’m sorry - but that’s a fact.

I’m reading Chris Hughton is West Ham’s man. I hope so. Chris is a great guy, but in order to have any success ambitions at that club have to be more realistic. Historically West Ham have been a top end second tier team or one that can compete half way up the top league. Occasionally they’d win a cup. That’s what West Ham are today. It’s nonsense to pretend differently, although Ms Brady believes otherwise. It’s a pity all the advice she offers to others in her national newspaper column can’t be harnessed for the good of West Ham.

Oh, and welcome back Jose. I’ve been critical of him in the past - not least when he was looking to get out at United. That was a horrible time for everybody. He once told me that he regretted not leaving at the end of the second season. He was right. He should’ve gone then. He remains box office though and it’s great to have him back.