The situation at Arsenal was always going to attract a lot of focus this season.

After over two decades of life under Arsene Wenger, a massive moment for that club.

Rafa Benitez was linked a number of times with the job as it became clear a change was coming.

The disgraceful way the Arsenal fans went on, in treating Arsene Wenger the way they did after delivering so much success, left many neutrals willing whoever replaced him to fail dismally and bring a large dose of reality into the lives of those embarrassing Gooners.

Fair to say Unai Emery is yet to convince, with two defeats already and a fortunate late win at Cardiff at the weekend, plus victory over bottom club West Ham, their successes under the new man.

Jamie Carragher doesn’t understand why Rafa Benitez wasn’t considered, pointing to his ‘CV’ and ‘what he’s done’ in his managerial career.

Unai Emery came to prominence when winning three Europa League titles in a row with Sevilla, landing him the job at PSG. Domestic cup wins and one Ligue 1 title in his two years there would have been seen as an absolute minimum with PSG’s huge financial advantage over the rest in France.

At Arsenal it is a different story and despite spending around £275m in the last five transfer windows, including over £70m in this latest one under Emery, it is a case of getting his side to play better as a team than they are as individuals, if they are to challenge the likes of Man City and the rest.

Ironically, speaking of trying to make the individuals you have available better as a team, Unai Emery next faces Rafa Benitez in the Premier League a week on Saturday.

A key fixture for both, as Rafa looks to lift Newcastle out of the relegation zone, whilst a third defeat in five Premier League games will no doubt have those poor Arsenal fans demanding a new manager and be reminded to be ‘careful what you wish for.’

Jamie Carragher:

“Rafa Benitez is probably my biggest influence in football.

“I had him for six years as my manager (at Liverpool).

“You look at someone like Rafa and his CV, with what he’s done, he has got trophies everywhere.

“Why wasn’t he in the running for the Arsenal job?”



  • Gabo Toura

    Jamie has to be off his rocker. if your high opinion of Rafa is shared by the Liverpool brass, why didn’t they go back for him? – his family stayed behind in the city long after he left the club.
    You want the Gooners to ignore fundamental truths that Inter, Real Madrid, Chelsea & Napoli let Rafa go. There has to be a reason for that. He’s a limited coach who may struggle at this point in his career to liberate himself.

    • justchampion

      How many trophies did he win at those clubs and others?

      • Gabo Toura

        Why was he let go or chased out is the question from those clubs especially his home club Real Madrid.

    • Billmag

      If Cardiff can score two goals against the gunners then I think they are going to have problems.

      • Gabo Toura

        Still doesn’t make Jamie’s point valid.

    • Ron

      After reading your first paragraph I thought “yes one of life’s mysteries!”

      Then reading your second I figured you must have arrived from Mars, he is limited, limited by the support he gets from Ashley, and yes he will struggle. The struggle will be in selecting the club to go to next year from all of those who want success and will be clambering for his signature.

      • Gabo Toura

        If i am from Mars, you ought to visit sometime. You say “clambering for his signature” – that’s optimistic – easy to do if you ignore the big clubs that let him go – most prominent of those Real Madrid(his home club) – money wasn’t the problem.
        Zizou got more outta that squad while Maurizio Sarri got more of the Napoli team than Rafa. His Liverpool team were a good cup team but inconsistent in the EPL – A midfield of Mascherano, Alonso & Stevie G needed to be more productive(worldclass @theirpeak) -those are the breaks. He’ll struggle to find anything above Newcastle’s level – his philosophy must evolve – something about players at the highest level not buying in.

  • Paul Patterson

    Arsenal won’t get top 4 this season. It would have been nice for Rafa to have had half of what Arsenal spent (net) last summer.

    • Ron

      He could and should have, it’s still there.

  • Carverlier football

    I’d be cautious having too much of a go at any set of unhappy fans because we don’t know what their experience is – as we know only too well. There’s only really two things which upset fans – disrespecting the club’s heritage, and failing to maximise the club’s potential, either through poor decisions or, in our case, deliberately. If Arsenal fans reasonably thought the club’s potential was not being realised over a few years due to poor decisions then I couldn’t really comment. Of course, having any sympathy for fans who are uspet because they’re only winning a few trophies rather than potentially lots of trophies is another matter entirely…

    • Paul Patterson

      I think a little more respect should have been afforded Wenger. Yes they haven’t won the league in years but really what were Arsenal expecting? It’s Man City’s title for the next decade if Liverpool don’t step up as nobody else can compete . .

      • Ron

        What annoys be are the whingers who moan about not winning things for a few years, when our once proud club feature in Ancient History lessons when it comes to Trophies – 1969! Now with the FCB in the driving seat we have no hope for the future either!

    • Danimal

      Agreed. It’s that dreaded word expectation. If we’d been operating at the higher end of the league for the last 20-odd years (and we had every chance of doing so with the platform we established in the late 90s) but then were gradually declining year on year, we would probably have been asking for change. It doesn’t look so clever now but that was much the scenario in SBR’s last season, a lot of us felt that it was stagnating and needed new impetus. Unfortunately someone decided the impetus would be in the shape of Graeme bloody Souness…

  • Chris-Chapple

    style of play

  • toonterrier

    I’m a poor pensioner but I would happily pay fatties bus fare to take him from the toon to Arsenal as long its a one way ticket.

  • Lord

    Quote taken completely out of context from the Carragher – Neville conversation post Chelsea match (so quotes are over a week old).

    Carragher answered his own question by going on to suggest that Rafa might not be seen as a progressive enough coach for the style of play Arsenal want to see (which is I think a polite term for he’s too defensively minded). He’s probably right.

    • toonterrier

      Like any other class manager he has to play with what he’s got and in Rafa’s case he has too many players not up to the standard required of the Premier league which puts him into the defensive survival mode. Hopefully someone will come in soon and take over the club and support Rafa then we may see the football we all want.