Football News

Arsenal should replace Unai Emery with someone like Steven Gerrard – Emmanuel Petit

By Harry Edwards

Published: 21:15, 13 November 2019 | Updated: 9:35, 21 November 2019

Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit has urged the club to replace the struggling Unai Emery with someone like Rangers boss Steven Gerrard.

The Gunners sit sixth in the Premier League after 12 games but are already eight points behind fourth-placed Manchester City having won just four times this season and being winless in their past five games across all competitions.

This follows on from Arsenal missing out on the top four last season, condemning them to a third consecutive year of Europa League football, with a 4-1 defeat to Chelsea in the 2019 final representing another opportunity to return to the Champions League spurned.

Should Arsenal sack Emery? Five things to know…

  • Arsenal have won eight of their 18 games across all competitions this season.
  • The Gunners are sixth in the Premier League, already eight points behind fourth-place Manchester City.
  • Arsenal have also had off-pitch incidents surrounding their captaincy.
  • As a result, there have been calls for manager Unai Emery to be sacked.
  • Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit believes the club should move Emery on, replacing him with Rangers manager Steven Gerrard.

Arsenal have also been embroiled in controversy outside their performances with Granit Xhaka being stripped of the club’s captaincy for a clash with fans at the Emirates less than two months after he was given the armband.

His replacement, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, has also recently made headlines for reacting negatively to reports of frustration to his appointment owing to his association with YouTube channel AFTV.

All of this, on top of Arsenal’s lack of identity on the pitch, has led to some fans and pundits calling for Emery to be sacked – less than 18 months after he replaced Arsene Wenger at the helm.

And former Arsenal midfielder Petit believes the club should cut ties with the Spaniard, though he has suggested a slightly surprising name as a potential replacement.

“The club needs a great leader now,” Petit told Paddy Power.

“Someone who can bring back the passion, someone respected by the players, someone who can fill the team with energy and the winning mentality.

“Steven Gerrard, for example, is like this. I want to see passion, emotion. Someone who, when he takes your hand, you can feel the electricity.

“I want someone who can bring that to the Arsenal dressing room, because they need to wake up.

“I believe it’s time for Unai Emery to leave Arsenal,” Petit said. “The results are not good at all. I don’t recognise this team anymore and I don’t recognise this club anymore.

“Arsene Wenger built this club for 20 years and there was concern as generation after generation came and went.

“But now they look like an average team without any inspiration or creativity – and I don’t think that’s solely down to the players.

“My opinion is that most of the players have given up on Emery, so it’s time for him to go.”

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Vieira warns Arsenal against sacking Emery

Despite Petit’s strong views about the future of Emery at Arsenal, his opinion is not echoed by everyone associated with the club.

Petit’s former teammate and Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira – who is among those tipped to replace Emery – believes the Gunners would not solve their problems by appointing a new manager.

“It’s true Arsenal are going through a tough spell,” Vieira, now manager of Nice, said.

“But I haven’t watched all their matches, so I can’t talk about their game.

“They have a coach who is qualified and who works well. When a club is having a difficult time, it’s important to be united. I think he has enough experience to get them through this difficult spell.

“We have to get behind him and give him time to change things. I am not sure a change of manager will fix the problems.”