Emmanuel Petit: Nothing has changed since Wenger left Arsenal

The former Gunners midfielder says he can also understand why supporters are losing patience with Unai Emery.


I can understand why many Arsenal supporters are losing patience with Unai Emery. As a manager he has a bad record away from home – not just with Arsenal, but also while he was in Spain.

Arsenal showed no character against Sheffield United and it pisses me off because it has been the case so many times away from home. The starting XI he picked was strange. It’s difficult after an international break when you have to play teams that don’t have as many players involved in the international fixtures.

But you know what to expect when you go to Bramall Lane – you know the qualities of the Sheffield United team. They fight, especially in front of their home crowd, and they get balls into the box and put pressure on at set pieces. That’s what they did against Liverpool and Chelsea.

More importantly, they didn’t show any technical quality on the pitch. They gave away so many simple balls and had no inspiration, imagination or creativity. They looked so heavy. That isn’t Arsenal – you need to take the ball and show what you’ve got.

But I haven’t seen that in years. Nothing has changed since Arsène Wenger left.

Unai Emery

Patrick Vieira would’ve asked ‘What the f*ck are you doing?’ – but Arsenal have no leadership

Can you imagine Patrick Vieira on the pitch on Monday night? He would have been shouting at his team-mates, asking them: “What the f*ck are you doing?” I don’t see that with Xhaka. I do with Guendouzi – he’s one of the few who shows he wants to win every game. He’s got a lion’s heart.

Matteo Guendouzi is relied upon a lot by Emery, and that’s because he’s showing anger on the pitch. He hates to lose games, you can see that he’s ready to fight for every single ball. He plays to his strengths and he does that well.

That’s more than you can say for some of the other midfielders. Can anyone tell me what is Xhaka’s best quality? I don’t know why he has been made captain. The leadership is absent.

To be fair to Emery, it’s a good thing that he’s picking a lot of young players, including players grown at the club. Gabriel Martinelli has caught my eye, as has Joe Willock. And, of course, Kieran Tierney – I can’t wait to actually see him playing, it’s time – Arsenal need something else in defence.

I’m happy to see these players getting a chance. Some of them have quality, though they need to improve. For that, they need help from older players, who don’t seem to be showing the way to these youngsters. These experienced heads must show the responsibility and personality needed to succeed as an example for their younger team-mates.

Patrick Vieira

What’s going on with Mesut Ozil?

Emery said last week that Mesut Ozil was ready to play. Yet he didn’t even make the bench. That left Arsenal without any quality to bring on.

The players Emery picked to start in Sheffield – honestly, come on! Were there really no other options? What about Dani Ceballos? He’s one of the few Arsenal players who can create something with his passing. I don’t want to focus on Granit Xhaka all the time but, well, show me something else!

Regarding Ozil, I don’t think the club are being completely honest. Ozil seems to be ready to play, he has been training for weeks – if he’s not fit now, when is he going to be fit? There’s a problem somewhere.

Maybe it’s a mental issue or maybe Emery simply doesn’t like him or doesn’t trust him.

Arsenal defenders don’t have the ability to play out from the back

Emery wants to build from the back. Like against Watford, when they were leading 2-0 before making a stupid mistake because they tried to follow Emery’s instructions.

Some of those Arsenal defenders don’t have the technical quality to do that. Or if they do they don’t have the character to do it.

Teams like City can do that because their players aren’t scared. But most of those Arsenal players, when they feel someone at their back, whoa, it’s a problem.

Arsenal 2/9, Draw 5/1, Guimaraes 10/1

What do you think?