This is it. Arsenal’s most important game of the season, or at least the most pivotal in Unai Emery’s tenure as the head coach.
Good day everybody. Arsenal is at the King Power Stadium this evening to play against Premier League high-flyers Leicester City.
It’s been a tale of fire and ice for these two sides this campaign. Under Brendan Rodgers the Foxes started with back-to-back draws, but got progressively better since. After 11 games they got the league’s best defense, conceded a mere eight goals, and only Man City has scored more than their 27. The Gunners kicked off with two wins in two, then we lost our way recording just two wins in our last nine league games. The last few weeks has been a real struggle as it appear to be such a toil to create or score from open play. We also unable to hold on to leads, drawing our last four games in all competitions from winning positions.
The mood around the club is not particularly great and it is unlikely that a win will even improve that. Defeat will certainly make Emery’s position untenable with a fanbase that now knows they just need to make a loud enough noise.
He will be well aware that he’s at a crucial juncture and if he got any hopes of getting the fans back onside, he has to get out of his comfort zone and deliver, because if we go to the international break nine points off of top-four, we risk being dragged out of that race.
Bear with me: last season about this time we were 3rd on the log, two points off the leaders and in the midst of a 22-game unbeaten run. There was a real buzz around the club as many cheered: “we got our Arsenal back”. There were concerns, which were ignored, then December arrived and things went awry. Now we’re in a worse off position and once again winter is coming; with fixtures congested and unforgiving as ever. Woe is me.
I honestly think this inter-break is something we all need right now. So much has happened these last few week, or not, as far as results are concerned. The issues with Granit Xhaka being stripped of the captaincy, the “friction” between Emery and Mesut Özil and with games coming thick and fast the players and coaching staff hardly had time to catch a breath.
The management team and coaching staff could use the two weeks to sit down and take stock of our season thus far and assess where it is they intend this team to go; with clear thought. There should also be enough honesty, assuming Emery stays on, to say that we do support you but the existing way of doing things is not helping to get the best out of a very talented squad, something has to change if we want to finish inside the top-four.
During tough times you can’t just shrug your shoulders in the hope that things will sort itself out.
Rodgers is doing a fine job up at Leicester and his side is 3rd on the log for a reason. On Arsenal’s last two trips to the KP we got beaten with an aggregate score of 6-1, and no doubt they must feel confident of inflicting even more issues on Emery.
Dani Ceballos is the only injury concern and Emery said Xhaka is unavailable. Hector Bellerin, who was rested midweek, could be in line for a league start.
Phew! How do I even say this? Nine out of ten times when 3rd play 5th you’d usually favour the team higher on the table, and I suppose today shouldn’t be any different. Compared to the Gunners… the Foxes are just on another level defensively and in attack. However, I don’t think they will have it all their way because there are a lot of pride in this Arsenal side and it could be a good game. May the better team over the 90 minutes win. COYG