Arsenal Sack Unai Emery

sack unai emery

Unai Emery, successor to Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, has finally been given his marching orders. The club has made the decision to sack their head coach after months of seeing the team under-perform.

Freddie Ljungberg will temporarily take over the first team in an interim head coach role.

Gunners Sack Unai Emery

Up and Down First Season

Unai Emery didn’t have such a bad start to life in north London. His first two matches were freebies against Manchester City and Chelsea. While in the former the team didn’t play very well in the latter fans saw a glimpse of what they dubbed ‘Emery-ball’.

What followed was a 22-match unbeaten streak across three competitions. That gave fans hope of a return to the Champions League under the new head coach. However, that didn’t last.

Over the course of the winter, results wilted somewhat before a dramatic late-season collapse. Arsenal went from third to fifth in the closing weeks of the Premier League season under Unai Emery.

Then came the ill-fated second half of the Europa League final which saw the Gunners ship four goals and lose their last hope of the Champions League.

Hopeful Summer

What followed once again gave fans hope for the future. The club invested heavily in the squad, bringing in Nicolas Pepe, Kieran Tierney, Gabriel Martinelli, David Luiz and William Saliba.

With so much investment in the squad and the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur taking steps backwards, it once again felt like Arsenal were close to a top-four return.

The 2019/20 season started well enough with wins over Newcastle United and Burnley before results began to sour. Their win over Bournemouth in October came before a stretch of five league games without a win including losses to both Leicester City and Sheffield United.

With fans growing discontent with Unai Emery, the club had to act.


Ultimately, Emery may have been given the impossible task. Replacing an icon at a club is never easy and it was made more difficult by the period of transition in which he took charge.

Upon his appointment, Emery’s boss was Ivan Gazidis with Raul Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat his deputies. Now, only one of those four remains at the club, head of football Sanllehi, with Vinai Venkatesham and Edu Gaspar rounding out the executive team.

With these changes has come a transition into a new model. The club wants a new emphasis on youth development and promotion and took a lot of power away from the manager.

Unai Emery’s position as head coach precluded him from the type of influence over transfers which define the Wenger era. Still, blame has to be laid primarily at Emery’s feet.

His tactics were too defensive at Arsenal, a club who didn’t seem capable of such an act during Emery’s tenure. He also stopped the high pressing which defined that early period of success at the club and chose a possession-heavy system on attack.

This, plus a few questionable man-management decisions, led to a loss of faith in the dressing room. Player performances soon dropped and it was only a matter of time the decision to sack Unai Emery became inevitable.

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