Football News

Unai Emery sacked: Arsenal confirm next steps

By CJ Smith

Arsenal sack Unai Emery and confirm his temporary replacement

Published: 10:21, 29 November 2019

Arsenal have sacked manager Unai Emery after a tumultuous start to the 2019/20 season.

The Gunners are languishing in eighth place in the Premier League table and are already eight points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and 19 behind leaders Liverpool after just 13 games.

Unai Emery sacked: Five things to know…

  • Emery replaced Arsene Wenger in the summer of 2018.
  • In his first season, the Gunners finished fifth and reached the final of the Europa League.
  • But they lost that final 4-1 to Chelsea and have won just four of their 13 Premier League games this season.
  • Emery won 55.1% (43) of his 78 games in charge of Arsenal.
  • Freddie Ljungberg has been named interim head coach.

Arsenal have only managed four wins in the Premier League so far, while they also exited the Carabao Cup on penalties against Liverpool.

Things haven’t been much easier off the pitch, either, with Grant Xhaka clashing with Arsenal fans only weeks after being named club captain.

The final nail in Emery’s coffin was a 2-1 home defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League, capping off a winless November across all competitions – drawing three and losing twice. It also extended the Gunners’ winless streak to seven games, last winning 3-2 against Vitoria on October 24.

As a result, the Spaniard’s 78-game spell at the Emirates has come to an end with a record of 43 wins, 16 draws and 19 defeats, including a 4-1 loss to Chelsea in last season’s Europa League final.

Arsenal announced the news with a statement on their official website which read: “We announce today that the decision has been taken to part company with our head coach Unai Emery and his coaching team.

“The decision has been taken due to results and performances not being at the level required.”

The Gunners also provided a statement from Josh Kroenke, on behalf of the Arsenal board.

“Our most sincere thanks go to Unai and his colleagues who were unrelenting in their efforts to get the club back to competing at the level we all expect and demand,” Kroenke said.

“We wish Unai and his team nothing but future success.”

Freddie Ljungberg will replace Emery as interim head coach, starting with the Gunners’ trip to Norwich City on Sunday. Arsenal confirmed they have stared their search for a new permanent manager and will comment further when that process is complete.

Who could replace Emery at Arsenal in the long term?

Just as when Sir Alex Ferguson retired and left Manchester United in 2013, Arsene Wenger’s departure from Arsenal saw the end of a managerial dynasty and the start of a new era at the club.

However, and again in similar fashion to the Red Devils, the Gunners are quickly left searching for another man to move into the dugout after Emery’s unsuccessful attempt to succeed Wenger.

So, who could replace Emery permanently? Here are a few of the more likely candidates:

  • Mikel Arteta: “There are managers out there, but I said three years ago Mikel Arteta would have been the one [I picked],” said former Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino recently. Arteta spent five years at Arsenal as a player, winning two FA Cups, and is well-loved in that particular corner of north London. After spending three years coaching alongside Pep Guardiola, he certainly seems like an attractive prospect from a tactical standpoint.
  • Max Allegri: The 52-year-old left Juventus at the end of last season and has been out of work since, despite expressing a desire to dive straight back into management. The Italian has won a combined six Serie A titles during his spells with Juve and AC Milan and would arrive at the Emirates with a ton of pedigree.
  • Mauricio Pochettino: Seeing the former Spurs manager in charge at the Emirates Stadium seemed impossible a few months ago, but some fans seem to be warming to the idea. The Argentine is expected to take a break after leaving the Lilywhites but Arsenal could do a lot worse than turning to their former rival.
  • Rafa Benitez: The Spaniard, who is currently coaching in China after leaving Newcastle in the summer, would likely be able to bring an immediate sense of calm to north London. Benitez’s track record is a stellar one but would he be able to deliver the progress in style of play that the fans crave?
  • Freddie Ljungberg: It would not be surprising to see Arsenal give the Swede the permanent role if he gets the Gunners on the right track. Ljungberg has managed Arsenal’s youth teams and, having spent nine years with the Gunners as a player, would know the club inside and out.