Arsenal blew a two-goal lead away at Watford on Sunday and while the inquest will last all week, a lot of fans want to know how much longer do we give Unai Emery?
Right from the start, Watford were all over Arsenal.
Somehow though, through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s clinical nature, we were two up at the break and cruising. Our goals had slapped Watford back into their bottom-of-the-table place, for a while at least.
As I wrote about Unai Emery’s awful record against Quique Sanchez Flores, I wondered if we’d extend our care in the community scheme into this season and, sure enough, that’s exactly what we did.
Unsure if Watford would be able to grab an unlikely point against a side with Champions League aspirations, David Luiz helpfully dangled out a leg.
We can argue about Gerard Deulofeu being slightly inside the box when Arsenal took their goalkick. Or the stupidity of PGMOL instructing VAR not to rule on that. But to do that would be to deny that Watford thoroughly outplayed Arsenal.
The result, a 2-2 draw, isn’t the end of the world. But that’s not the worst bit.
Arsenal managed seven shots against the league’s worst team but allowed them an embarrassing 28 – that’s more than they let Liverpool have (25). It’s even more than they let Newcastle and Burnley have, combined (9 and 18 respectively).
We made Watford look better than Liverpool.
Arsenal have faced 96 shots this season, more than any other side in the PL, Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1 & the Bundesliga. Some effort that.
— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) September 15, 2019
Hyperbole? Perhaps, but allow me some licence.
Before the game we wondered if Unai Emery would set up like a bottom-of-the-table side but he surprised us all by giving Mesut Ozil his first start of the season along with Dani Ceballos.
The changes Emery made, however, in the second half to try and secure the result when it was only 2-1 simply handed the impetus to Watford and they never let it go. Although it was end-to-end for the final few minutes, there only ever looked like one side that believed they could win this game. And it wasn’t us.
I don’t like Unai Emery. I don’t hate him either. I find him all a bit bland, if I’m honest. I see nothing to get excited about on the pitch that seems to be the result of his coaching and I am extremely dubious that switching out our full-backs will be the magical piece that brings all of Emery’s plans together.
Arsenal have a break clause in Emery’s contract that will allow them to terminate it at the end of two years instead of three. That’s the end of this season.
On what we’ve seen so far, it’s going to take a remarkable turnaround in the next eight months to make that seem like a bad idea.