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Opinion: Unai Emery dug his own grave at Arsenal

Unai Emery, Arsenal
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Arsenal finally relieved Unai Emery of his duties after a disastrous start to the season, but the cold truth is he had it coming for a while.

Unai Emery was supposed to lead the revolution when Arsenal parted ways with the iconic Arsene Wenger. They needed a brave new leader to install the required changes to bring back their glory days.

The Spaniard seemed like a decent appointment in the summer of 2018 considering the limited options. It was a bit too much to ask the inexperienced Mikel Arteta to turn things around after all.

And Emery had a solid reputation having enjoyed trophy-laden spells at Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla. In fact, he won three successive Europa League titles with the latter.

Frankly, though, the former PSG coach’s time at the Emirates Stadium has been torrid, to say the least.

True, he nearly returned the club to the Champions League for the first time of asking last season. The highlight of his time in north London was probably the 22-match unbeaten run between August to December 2018.

But things went downhill rather drastically afterwards.

The never-ending issues with the squad

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Emery’s main priority was to resolve the lingering defensive issues that Arsenal experienced under Wenger.

While he tried his best, though, things only got worse as time passed. This season, in fact, the Gunners have undisputedly got one of the Premier League’s worst defences, with 19 goals conceded in just 13 games.

Seeing the defenders in action at the moment is a nerve-wracking experience for any Arsenal supporter. 

The Gunners’ creativity also completely disappeared under Emery, who tried many different formations to improve things. Ultimately, though, he had to rely on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s brilliance to spare his blushes.

Mesut Ozil, Arsenal, Premier League, Unai Emery, Ian Wright
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Another problem that would never end was the dispute between Emery and Mesut Ozil

The World Cup winner, who is renown for his creativity, could’ve been the answer to bringing back a more attractive style of football for Arsenal. However, Emery instead opted to leave the club’s highest-earner out in the cold time and time again.

Emery dug his own grave in the summer

The defining moment probably started during the Gunners’ USA pre-season tour, when Emery requested funds to the club’s American owners. He made it clear there wasn’t a chance of progress for this season if no new talent arrived.

Stan Kroenke duly obliged and spent €152.40m in signing Nicolas Pepe, William Saliba, Kieran Tierney, David Luiz and Gabriel Martinelli.

But the loan signing of Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid has proved to be the only decent bit of business done. Although Pepe has shown flashes of promise recently.

While Emery has been a disaster since the start of the season. He simply couldn’t bring out the best of his players, and became increasingly defensive and cautious as results worsened.

But the goals still plundered into the Arsenal goal, with not even Aubameyang able to come to the rescue this time. 

The supporters then lost patience and called for the 48-year-old’s dismissal. While rumours persisted of discontent in the Arsenal squad, with several players questioning the coach’s tactics.

Therefore, Arsenal had no choice but to sack Emery before their slim hopes of reaching the Champions League disappeared altogether.

Ideally, the board would’ve preferred to review the managerial position at the end of the season. However, they only had one option in the end.

The final nail in the coffin was Thursday’s shock 2-1 home defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League.

Arsenal FC v Eintracht Frankfurt: Group F - UEFA Europa League
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The big question now is who can resurrect the mighty Gunners, who have failed to win their last seven games in all competitions?