The Story Back Then
Unai Emery’s guest lecture at the London Football University on ‘managerial master-class’ got cancelled after students targeted the Arsenal boss by posting derogatory comments on social media. There was a lot of criticism revolving around Unai Emery’s managerial skills, as his team’s (Arsenal) poor performance was evident in their six-match losing streak back then. The Spaniard, who was on the verge of being sacked by the Gunners (at that point), had to speak with the students at the University Campus of Football Business in Wembley.
However, the University was forced to cancel the lecture owing to the undergraduates’ perceptual hatred towards him. The students were informed that Unai wouldn’t be visiting the University after the management cited heavy negativity aimed at him.
In a notice, they were told that “It is with much regret that we can no longer present Unai Emery to UCFB students this Friday. We have noticed that there have been a number of negative comments aimed at Mr Emery when the guest appearance was initially announced.”
“We would like to take this opportunity to remind all students of the digital footprint that you create, which could impact you throughout your career within the football and sports industry.”
Arsenal’s draw with low ranked Southampton FC only added to Emery’s problems when the fans jeered all through the match and the apparent pundits questioned his effectiveness as a manager. The team’s progress will be watched carefully as chiefs Edu and Raul Sanllehi have decided to defend the former PSG manager for one last time. Arsenal was then struggling at the eighth rung of the table (at that point), behind Wolves, Sheffield United and Burnley. Their eight-point difference with the fourth-ranked Chelsea seemed quite impossible to overcome owing to their form.
While speaking with Sky Sports, former English defender Jamie Carragher said, “I think the reason the Arsenal fans are chanting for Emery to go is that they were in this position with Arsene Wenger. It is slightly different – Arsene Wenger got a lot more time at the end because he was a legend and he had won so much – but I think Arsenal fans look back now and think they missed out on the two best managers in the Premier League and possibly the world, because they stuck too long with the manager.”
He also further added that “At this moment, I do not think Unai Emery is Champions League level. He is almost like the Europa League level. A great career, what he has done, but he is not the level I think Arsenal need.”
Amidst all these headlines, there were several rumours about Arsenal management approaching former Tottenham boss Pochettino and Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo for the job. Emery’s fate was eventually decided when the Gunners hosted Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League tie and lost. Within a few hours on the next day, he was sacked for good.
The Right Decision Or Not?
So far, nothing that Freddie Ljungberg has done, can tag the decision to sack his predecessor as right. Surely there were some tactical failures on Emery’s part. However, the club has failed to recover and bring in a new manager. On the other hand, the approach that the Swede has applied so far has failed to produce any sort of results.
With West Ham away from home this game-week, things could surely go from bad to worse. If that happens, the north London giants will face off in a relegation battle soon. It is time for a change and the change is a new permanent boss.