What are they waiting for?

So, after an Interlull that saw the Arsenal decision-makers back their man - but a major managerial change elsewhere (I'll come back to that) - ended with another limp display from an Arsenal side devoid of confidence and, from where I sat, as poorly set up and badly coached as ever before.


The decision to go with five at the back against a side languishing at the bottom of the table, and who had recently lost a game 9-0, baffled everyone I spoke to. If there was ever an opportunity to play Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette and Pepe in the same team then this was it; 4-2-1-3. But there's little point in trying to guess what Emery is going to come up with.

And yet, despite having three central defenders, Arsenal found themselves a goal down in under ten minutes. And despite working their way back into the game it was clear to me that tactics were at a premium. Some players pressed the ball; most did not. The central midfielders showed little or no discipline, and Southampton's three continually passed the ball around Arsenal's two - and with considerably more tempo too I must add.

The full-backs were pushing on so far that the outside flanks of the central defenders were continually exposed. At least one of the forwards was having to continually drop into midfield to help out or even to get a sight of the ball. There were gaping holes in Arsenal's central midfield - yet again. Everything Arsenal did - with the exception of Tierney's movement on the left - felt laboured.

Bringing Pepe on at half-time left everybody wondering why he hadn't started. As much as anything else, leaving him out is another example of poor man-management to go alongside that of Ozil, Xhaka and Torreira over the past few months. And don't get me started on Ramsey from last season!

To be fair, as a result of the change of formation Arsenal did look better and played with considerably more freedom for a while - until the inevitable happened and Southampton re-took the lead. A definite penalty - yet another one conceded! - and it's worth analysing the reasons why the team does give so many away. I think it's simple - lack of proper cover from midfield leaves the defence exposed time and again. The results are inevitable.

So Arsenal huffed and puffed, and got their equaliser (in front of a three quarters empty Emirates Stadium); yet barely celebrated it. And the game ended to a chorus of boos, as the first half had. Yet another draw, four wins out of 13, and below Sheffield United, Burnley and Wolves in the table. And over the past month it's frankly relegation form. The chants of 'We want Emery out' are getting louder on a match by match basis.

The issue isn't just the results. It's the lack of clarity of style, of execution, of thought process. I don't know of a single Arsenal fan who doesn't want a change of Coach at this point. The next three games are as winnable as this one was - Norwich, Brighton, West Ham - but I have no confidence in 9 points being delivered. And after that? Manchester City, Chelsea twice and Manchester United in the space of 5 weeks!

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