Emmanuel Petit: Nothing has changed under Unai Emery at Arsenal

Petit's feeling more than a little disappointed at what's going down at the Emirates...

Emmanuel Petit


After Arsene Wenger’s era, I think we were expecting more from the club. I am disappointed.

You are telling me that Emery has the same problems that Wenger had. Nothing has changed. If you sack the manager, you need to start a revolution. But I ask the question: why did they sack Arsene?

If someone can give me the answer then I’ll be very happy.

If you don’t give control to Emery, allow him to oversee a revolution, give him the power to bring in new players to help him change the style on the pitch, then why create all of this mess?

This team is not good enough to fight for the title. This team is strong enough to fight for third or fourth place and that’s it. They’ve been like that for years and years. You don’t have to be a magician to understand that.

I was thinking: “OK, you sacked Wenger for good reasons.” But, honestly, nothing has happened. It’s just the same now as it ever was.

I don’t see many changes in terms of how the team plays since Wenger left. I’m still confident with Emery, he’s a talented manager, but he needs to pick his own players as well. For sure, Arsenal needs to change the squad.

Arsenal v Chelsea

This is a must-win for Arsenal. They had a long run of games without defeat – I saw every single game since the beginning of the season and I think in many games they were lucky.

I was happy with this feeling coming back into this club. But I was not naive and I was sure that the problems would come back into the club, especially with the weaknesses in defence and you could see that for the last two or three weeks.

I watched the last game with West Ham and I was thinking: ‘how can you put Ramsey on the bench and leave Ozil at home, knowing that you have no creative midfielders?’

Everything is on the shoulders of Aubameyang and Lacazette to score goals. And for a club like Arsenal, that’s not good enough.

It’s about having the characters in the team. Look at Liverpool, the personality of the team, the desire, the anger. When I look at the characters like Milner, Henderson, van Dijk; when I look at Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, they fight for the ball every time.

That’s what you need if you want to compete at the highest level. If you look at the big clubs, even Barcelona, it’s all about desire. When you don’t have the ball, it’s about the desire to get it back. It’s really that simple.

When I watched Arsenal in the Tottenham game when they won, I saw a team on the pitch. Not individuals, a team spirit. That’s hat has been missing for ages. If they can get that back then they can come back and have a good season.

But if they think individuals like Lacazette and Aubameyang can win games by themselves without the rest of the season then it’s a big mistake. Look at Liverpool. Salah, Mane and Firmino all score goals, but they have the whole team behind them. They all fight for each other.

Arsenal have to be worried because if they don’t win against Chelsea on Saturday then it will be very difficult for them to qualify for the Champions League. It will be hard to see them reaching top four and when I look at the teams left in the Europa League… well, good luck.

For Chelsea, meanwhile, Sarri is trying to play Hazard as a striker, he’s trying to play Kante in a different position and he’s so talented that he can play there. I’m not really convinced about Jorginho. He’s a talented player but I prefer Kante in this position.

They are too dependent on Hazard all of the time. That worries me. He changed the system tactically but I don’t see a big revolution in the team except Hazard up front and Kante changing his position.

But I’m thinking the dependency on Hazard is too big. If he gets injured or has a dip in form, what’s going to happen with Chelsea? Willian sometimes makes assists and Kante can play well, but that’s just a few of them and they are missing players.

They have so many attacking players with Pedro, Giroud, Barkley, they have the potential, but I watched Chelsea many, many times and I’m not very enthusiastic about the way they play.

I’m not champing at the bit to watch them. I watched them beat Newcastle, it was 2-1 and it was a difficult game for them. They did not show enough desire in the first half, they made the difference in the second half.

But it’s always the same story, always the individuals. They need to make a full game, for 90 minutes, they need to overcome that and it’s the same for Arsenal. They must play for the whole game.

If Arsenal have the same spirit as they did against Tottenham, then Arsenal will win the game. If they don’t have the same spirit then Chelsea will win.

If you look at the qualities of the team, then Chelsea have very talented players. Arsenal have good players like Aubameyang and Lacazette, but they need to have the rest of the team behind them and they need to get back to where they were a few weeks ago.

If I was an Arsenal player after the West Ham game, then I would already be thinking about the Chelsea game as one of the most important of the season. I would be thinking: ‘prepare every single day, prepare mentally, prepare physically, eat well, sleep well.’

It’s so important. If I’m Chelsea player, I would think the same.

But it’s always the same problem with Arsenal, we always question the mentality of the team, the spirit of the team for such a long team.

Arsenal to win – 15/8 | Draw – 5/2 | Chelsea – 13/10

What do you think?