Sacked! Unai Emery axed as Arsenal manager after disastrous run of results
Emery, 48, was informed of the Arsenal hierarchy’s decision on Friday. The board were forced to act after a meek 2-1 surrender to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League in front of a sparse crowd at the Emirates on Thursday night.
Spaniard Emery was 18 months into a £6 million a year contract that was due to run until 2021, having taken over from Arsene Wenger when the Frenchman called time on his 22-year tenure in 2018.
Club statement: Unai Emery— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 29, 2019
The Gunners reached the Europa League final last season, when they were beaten by Chelsea, but finished fifth in the table, again leaving them without Champions League football.
They are currently on a run of seven games without a win – their worst series of results since 1992 – and are eighth in the table, eight points off the Champions League places.
88 - Arsenal won exactly the same number of points in Unai Emery’s 51 Premier League games as they did in Arsene Wenger’s final 51 games in charge (88 points). Preservation. pic.twitter.com/vu7qqf2pCg— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 29, 2019
Former player Freddie Ljungberg, a member of Emery’s backroom staff, has taken over on an interim basis and will manage the team for Sunday’s Premier League trip to Norwich.
The Swede, 42, played for the North Londoners between 1998 and 2007 and has impressed since joining in a coaching role.
Thursday’s dire result at the Emirates – which saw thousands of fans stay away – was the final nail in the coffin for Emery although discontent had long been growing at his reign.
He has sidelined top earner Mesut Ozil for large parts of the season, while midfielder Granit Xhaka was stripped of the captaincy after being involved in an ugly spat with Gunners fans when he mouthed “f*ck off” to them while being substituted to a chorus of boos during a league game against Crystal Palace.
Emery was an increasingly derided figure, mocked for his English language skills but more importantly facing accusations of cluelessness with his tactical approach.
The search by the Arsenal hierarchy, headed by billionaire US owner Stan Kroenke, will now begin for his successor.
While unthinkable among some fans, one name being touted is Argetine Mauricio Pochettino, recently dimissed by arch rivals Tottenham.
Spurs fans when they find out Arsenal have sacked Unai Emery whilst Mauricio Pochettino is available 😱 pic.twitter.com/XCT67eetnL— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) November 29, 2019
Other names in the frame are reportedly Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Nuno Espirito and former Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri. Former Gunners midfielder Mikel Arteta, currently assistant to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, is also seen as a potential target.