In a shocking night of football, Arsenal threw away a lead to get beaten 1-2 by Eintracht Frankfurt.
This was Arsenal’s first home loss of the season and marked their seventh game in a row without a win (their worst run since 1992). Pressure is mounting on Unai Emery, but who were the winners and losers?
Winner: Daichi Kamada
Every match needs a hero, and you’d have expected it to be an Arsenal player in this game. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, perhaps. But no. Aubameyang did give Arsenal the lead (thanks to a very lucky bounce off the bar) but the man who ended up dominating the game was Frankfurt’s young Japanese star Daichi Kamada.
After all it was Kamada’s stunning finishes that turned the game in the second half. Sure Frankfurt dominated, but they never looked capable of scoring against Arsenal despite the state of their back-line. That is until Kamada stepped up, first cutting in from the right and bending a beautiful left-footed effort low into the far corner of the net.
10 minutes later he bagged the winner too, picking up a cleared corner on the edge of the box he took aim and struck a sweet shot through a crowd of bodies again low – this time at Emiliano Martinez’s near-post – and into the net. Two stunning goals that gave his side an absolutely colossal victory.
Loser: Arsenal’s medical staff
Arsenal have got many problems, and injuries are one of them. They had players missing anyway and then tonight they lost David Luiz to a rib injury, Shkodran Mustafi to a leg problem and even Granit Xhaka was down getting treatment for a long time after a clash of knees before soldiering on; although he looked very much like he should have gone off at half-time (though understandably he didn’t want to).
Unai Emery is obviously doing baffling things, but he’s not been help by his medical staff who have summarily failed to provide him with a fully fit squad. This failure is total and cost the Gunners big time tonight.
Winner: Adi Hutter
The match ended with Frankfurt looking absurdly dominant and capable of scoring almost at will, that’s a far, far cry from the first-half when they managed a meagre one shot, not even on target. Hutter knew that there was no way that his side would be able to do anything with things as they were.
So he removed Gelson Fernandes and André Silva, bringing on Dominik Kohr and Mijat Gacinovic. The change was instant, with Gacinovic in particular proving to be an incredible dynamic threat carrying the fight to Arsenal. This new energy Frankfurt played with is what allowed them to boss the second half, setting the stage for Kamada’s heroics.
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Loser: Lacazette and Pepe
It has to be weird if you’re Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe. These two amazing attacking players who have proven capable of rescuing Arsenal in recent memory. Lacazette scored twice to rescue the Gunners at the weekend against Southampton and Pepe was the man who delivered Arsenal’s last win a month ago when he scored two late on against Vitoria.
So these two men, proven goalscorers capable of rescuing Arsenal, had to sit on the bench and watch their side flail hopelessly as they first tried to extend their lead, then tried to re-take the lead, and finally tried to grab an equaliser. They looked baffled sat on the bench, and now have to share in the misery of this defeat without ever being given the chance to help avert it. Unai Emery pointed out the injuries that prevented them from coming on, but he could have brought them on regardless and shifted players around.
Winner: Manchester United
There are three big Premier League clubs having poor seasons but one of them (Spurs) has already taken action to correct things. This leaves Manchester United and Arsenal as the only two misfits this season, grossly underperforming their budget, squad and fan expectation. United sent a squad of kids away to Astana earlier today and lost 2-1. That wasn’t good but they had already qualified and what’s more they didn’t risk any genuine first-teamers, so they end the night as winners because hey, at least they’re not Arsenal.
Loser: Unai Emery
Arsenal are absolutely awful. After tonight’s debacle they haven’t won in their last seven games going back just over a month, and even that last win was the last-second win against Vitoria in the Europa League. They haven’t had a good solid confident win since they hammered Standard Liege 4-0 at the start of October.
#EmeryOut is trending on social media, and whilst you never like to see anyone lose their job, and whilst yes Arsenal fans can definitely be a reactionary bunch all too quick to call for the manager to go… they’re not wrong at this point (and their A4 pieces of paper calling for his dismissal are just adorable).
Unai Emery makes baffling decisions every three days. There’s no Arsenal game where he doesn’t do something that makes no sense. And afterwards, after his team have been out-thought and out-played for 90 minutes, Emery comes out and offers up the suggestion that his team executed his tactical plan well which, if true, means that he’s sending his men out to play in a nonsensical way.
There were about five Arsenal fans in the Emirates tonight and absolutely none of them were happy. Arsenal didn’t hamstring Arsene Wenger in the transfer market for all those years just for those magnificent seats to go unoccupied. A change has to come and right now, lest this waking nightmare somehow get even worse than it already has.
For the good of the club, for the good of the fans, for the good of the man himself: Unai Emery has got to go.