Football News

Arsenal players have been reduced to “nervous schoolchildren” under Emery, insists Crooks

By James Richards

Published: 22:24, 11 November 2019 | Updated: 0:09, 21 September 2022

Former Tottenham Hotspur star turned TV pundit Garth Crooks believes this current Arsenal squad play like a bunch of “nervous schoolkids” under Unai Emery.

The Gunners were beaten 2-0 by Leicester City at the weekend, prompting Crooks to suggest that Emery is destined to fail at the Emirates.

Is Emery on the verge of the sack? Five things to know…

  • Emery was appointed as a replacement for Arsene Wenger in May 2018.
  • He has failed to improve the Gunners since taking over the reins.
  • Arsenal have won less points in their 50 Premier League games under Emery than they managed in their final 50 under Wenger.
  • The Gunners have not won in their last four top-flight matches.
  • Despite recent woe, the Arsenal hierarchy have publicly backed Emery to turn things around.

The Spaniard is under increasing pressure at the Emirates following Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Leicester. It was Arsenal’s third of the season and means they have now won just twice in their last 10 Premier League outings.

The club’s latest defeat at the King Power has raised further questions about Emery’s tenure, with BBC pundit Crooks believing the Arsenal players appear scared of playing under a manager who looks increasingly “at odds” with his team.

In his column for BBC Sport, Crooks wrote: “The Gunners have some very talented players so why are they looking like a team of nervous schoolchildren terrified of their headmaster?

“Emery, who looks like he’s eaten a lemon before his post-match interviews, always appears to be at odds with his players. A manager who is constantly at war with his players is doomed.”

The Arsenal hierarchy have dismissed speculation about the Spaniard’s future but he is under a lot of pressure to turn things around in north London.

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Standing by their man

The Arsenal board recently offered their public support for Emery, saying they would give the Spaniard more time to improve results, even though they share the frustration of the club’s supporters.

“We are as disappointed as everyone else with both our results and performances at this stage of the season,” Raul Sanllehi, head of football, and Vinai Venkatesham, managing director, told over 200 Arsenal colleagues in a prearranged staff meeting.

“We share the frustration with our fans, Unai, players and all our staff as they are not at the level we want or expect. We are all working intensively behind the scenes to turn things around and are confident we will.”

Arsenal face Southampton at the Emirates after the international break, a side struggling at the wrong end of the Premier League and on a run of seven games without a win.