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You’re putting us through El, Unai

OPINION: After he sent Calum Chambers out as a winger at Sheffield United, fans would love to know what the Arsenal boss is really thinking

24 October, 2019 — By Richard Osley

Arsenal boss Unai Emery

IF I was a football manager and I was faced with the increasingly inane questions from the English soccerball press corps, I’d probably be more than happy to apologise and insist I was unable to speak the language.

So there’s a part of me that thinks Unai Emery may have conquered English several months ago and is now just putting on the broken chatter which comes back at post-match media conferences.

It would be convenient. By doing this, he avoids getting into the squabbles that Arsene Wenger was, for all his professorial maturity, so often dragged into; manipulated into criticising referees and other managers.

And yet a season and a bit into the Emery era at the Emirates – and without wanting to sound the wrong kind of Brexity – isn’t it time he started making sense?

Surely it would be more reassuring for both the players and certainly the fans if the Arsenal manager could clearly explain his hopes, his decisions and disappointments. At the moment, the confusing language barrier, as unfair as it may seem, gives the impression that he does not wholly know what he is doing.

The Arsenal fans who travelled to Sheffield United on Monday evening, for example, deserved an explanation for the tactic of passing wide to Calum Chambers and asking a bruiser centre-back to suddenly act as a light-footed winger capable of sweet-spot crossing.

As the balls from Chambers flew high, wide or clattered into the first defender, the train and match tickets for the away end must have seemed awfully expensive.

Emery did not even acknowledge the fans were there, shaking hands with the other team’s management and disappearing down the tunnel.

Sometimes it would be nice to at least say “lo siento”… which Google translator quickly tells me means “I’m sorry”.

Maybe Emery could use a translator more, or better still, learn the lingo. This may sound rich coming from a writer whose grasp of foreign languages does not extend beyond asking where the swimming pool is in French, but, folks, I’m not occupying one of the most high-profile jobs in English football and getting paid £6million a year to do so.

To break that down, six million pounds divided by hmmmm the number of minutes in a year… and, wowzas, for every minute of the day, whether Emery is awake or asleep, whether at work or at home watching Estrictamente Bailando, he earns £10.

Every minute: £10. By the time you’ve laboured through this column, he’s earned £50.

If I was offered the job at Barcelona, a few evening classes down the Working Men’s College would seem a small price to be able to engage with the club and its fans with some level of understanding of Spanish.

We’d love to know what Emery is really thinking.


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