As the dust settles after Arsenal’s defeat at the London Stadium on Saturday, it has become clear that Unai Emery’s honeymoon is over.

This season was always going to be a gimme at Arsenal for Unai Emery, but we’re long enough into his time at the club that we have every right to start raising an eyebrow and asking ‘what’s the plan here?’

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal applauds after the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal FC at London Stadium on January 12, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 12: Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal applauds after the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal FC at London Stadium on January 12, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Losing is never fun but it’s something, as Arsenal fans, we’ve got used to over the years, especially away from home. Dropping all three points and, with it, most likely our top four chances, Arsenal went down with barely a whimper at the London Stadium and while Sky Sports hailed West Ham’s performance as something akin to peak-Barcelona, they’d done nothing special to collect the points.

The worrying thing was they didn’t have to.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Declan Rice of West Ham United celebrates scoring the winning goal during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal FC at London Stadium on January 12, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 12: Declan Rice of West Ham United celebrates scoring the winning goal during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal FC at London Stadium on January 12, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Initial eyebrows were raised when the team news came in and Mesut Ozil was nowhere to be seen. He’d been training all week and was meant to be fit, yet against West Ham whom he loves to play, he was absent. Sky Sports said the club claimed he just wasn’t fit enough. Common sense and a gut feeling told you something else was going on.

What that could be is hard to tell.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Unai Emery, Manager of Arsenal (R) looks on during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal FC at London Stadium on January 12, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 12: Unai Emery, Manager of Arsenal (R) looks on during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal FC at London Stadium on January 12, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

We’re now more than six months into Unai Emery’s reign at Arsenal. We knew he had serious problems to address and, as such, not much was expected this season.

The 22-game unbeaten streak was unfortunate because it lulled many of us into thinking that Emery had cracked most of the problems but lurking beneath the gloss of the longest run in the league lay the same fundamental cracks that had done for Arsene Wenger.

Nothing much seems to be changing even though almost everything at the club has.

Against West Ham, with most of his defence fit and available again, Emery opted to go with players he’d been using when they weren’t. Hector Bellerin stayed on the bench as did Lucas Torreira for some reason no-one can quite fathom.

By this point, we should have at least some idea of what Emery’s plan is for this side. What are his main tactics? What is his first XI? What is plan A, B, and C? Why aren’t our best players playing? Why are we really letting Aaron Ramsey leave?

He’s got them defending well at corners, I’ll give him that. We’re the only side not to concede from one in the league, but when you can’ defend your own corners, that means little.

The same mistakes, carelessness and tendency to shoot their own foot off remains.

As does the wastefulness in front of goal and the lack of link-up play between the middle and front. Load up down the flanks, pull-back, repeat.

Is that it?

Creativity is provided in flashes from Alex Iwobi or no-one at all. It’s boring, predictable fodder that, if you close your eyes, could be coming from Arsene Wenger’s latter-era teams.

As I said as I opened this piece, we all knew that it would take time. Six months in we should be seeing *something*.

That we aren’t means it could well be time to start getting very concerned indeed, especially if there is no money at the club for wholesale changes.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.