The Story Back Then
Arsenal had continued their poor run after settling for a 2-2 draw against a low ranked Southampton FC back then at the Emirates stadium. This was just a mere addition to their five-match winless streak, which had eventually grown across all competitive matches. The Gunners were placed at the eighth rank in the Premier League table back then. They had only four wins in 13 games and were behind the Wolves, Sheffield United and Burnley FC as per order (which has become worse now).
This unsatisfactory performance had not only put the players under pressure but also become a threat to Unai Emery’s tenure at the club. The fans at the Emirates filled the air with harsh boos and jeers as the home team’s plight was frustrating.
“It is about results and we are not getting them. It just feels like a matter of time. It is not like the club is on its knees or anything. The mood is still pretty good, but you are now just waiting to be told the news,” a source had told Goal.com back then.
In such a situation, Arsenal chiefs Edu and Raul Sanllehi had finally arrived at a situation of offering a fair chance to the Spaniard by waiting for their fixtures against Eintracht Frankfurt and Norwich City. These two matches would have decided the fate of the former Paris Saint-Germain manager at the north London club.
Arsenal led the group F of the Europa League but the next two ties did have the capacity to pull them down if results wouldn’t turn out the way that Unai had expected. It was the same thing that happened against the German side, where they lose a lead, to eventually lose the game.
Arsenal’s defensive short-comings was never a hidden fact and their attacking woes were also emerging and causing problems. Emery was forced to consider a lot of combinations and come up with the best eleven players, who could have answered all doubts on behalf of the former Spanish midfielder.
It seemed like just a while ago when Arsene Wenger left the club in the summer of 2018. Raul Sanllehia, Ivan Gazidis and Sven Mislintat played their cards well to get Unai into the coaching business at Emirates but after a trot of failures, even they were feeling helpless. The fans were unhappy and the stadium wasn’t really getting the crowds.
Even Arsenal legend, Paul Merson wanted to see the Spaniard get replaced by former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino. The 51-year-old pundit added that this was the right time to get rid of Emery and appoint someone better, before the international break back then.
The management also had the option to let Unai go at the end of the season without paying any compensation fee owing to his 2-year contract with the club, with an option of a 12-month extension. The club chiefs had to shell out £4m to quicken the process and appoint a new boss (as per reports).
Rumours cited that the Gunners might appoint Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo for the job.
Amidst the early issues, Emery defended himself in October by saying, “Sometimes we forget the memory and we need to remember. When I arrived, this team needed to be more competitive. Arsenal, in their history, were winning 1-0 and being very competitive, but it was not enough.”
“Then the process of being competitive and with improved creativity. When I arrived here, the creativity was more or less good, but being competitive was worse. It was not enough.”
The Current Scenario
Despite the sacking of the former PSG and Sevilla boss and the hiring of Freddie Ljungberg as the interim manager, things are just not getting any better. The Gunners face West Ham away from home on Monday evening and if things can’t improve, the club will have to sign a new manager sooner than later.
They will surely not be able to wait till the end of the season and will have to make their move now. It will be interesting to see whether things work out for them or not, with the fans really losing their patience.