Arsenal 1 Eintracht Frankfurt 2
Aubameyang 46, Yamada 55, 64

Arsenal surrendered another lead to capitulate 2-1 against Eintracht Frankfurt in their Europe League Group F fixture at the Emirates. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave the Gunners the lead in first half time added on, but the Bundesliga side returned with replies of their own in a revitalised second half which saw Daichi Kamada firstly level ten minutes after the re-start and then give the visitors the lead nine minutes later with a low shot beyond the dive of Emiliano Martinez. It was fifth time Arsenal have led in games during their current seven-match winless run, drawing four and losing one from that sequence. Unai Emery cut a forlorn figure on the sidelines. His decision to leave Alexandre Lacazette, Pepe and Mesut Ozil on the bench looked as puzzling as his expressions in a stadium which registered a mere 25,000 fans, well short of the 64,ooo capacity.

David Luiz lasted just past the half hour mark in a midfield role, and while Ozil did replace the all energetic approach from Gabriel Martinelli, Lacazette and Pepe remained on the bench. Martinelli had two gilt edged chances to open the scoring, but was denied by keeper Ronnow and then a Gelson Fernandes clearance. Granit Xhaka returned following his controversial substitution and reaction in the draw with Crystal Palace, but another well below par defensive showing ensured that Arsenal were beaten. They remain top of Group F and barring a heavy defeat at Standard Liege in their final group game, will progress. Will that remain with Emery at the helm is uncertain. What is certain however is that Arsenal have to snap out of this ongoing on the pitch malaise that also discoloured the last few years of the Arsene Wenger tenure.

Aubameyang has been handed the captain’s armband and he certainly remains in the mood to score. He, Joe Willock, Martinelli and Bukayo Saka caused trouble for the opposition backline in a period of play in which Arsenal should have scored. Martinelli had a shot blocked and header cleared off the line while Aubameyang nodded wide. The Gabon striker did hit the target as he swept home from Martinelli’s low cross just before half-time. Willock had gotten in Aubameyang’s way when they both jumped for the same ball prior to the game’s opener.

The visitors returned hungrier after the break. Kamada fizzed past his marker for the leveller and had all the time he could have wanted to strike from the edge of the box as the Gunners’ defence gave him the freedom of the Emirates. The Gunners inability to respond seemed to reflect their lack of belief as witnessed in the latter stages of the 2-2 Premier League draw with Southampton when deep into stoppage time, where Lacazette rescued a point for the Gunners. He was denied that opportunity here in a bizarre decision by Emery who heard boos at full time as fans also held aloft “Emery Out,” signs.

He was brought in to stabilise Arsenal following 22 years under Wenger. There have been moments to suggest that his methods were working, but all too often, Arsenal remain unable to hold onto a lead, or stamp their authority on games which call for coach and player intelligence. Arsenal may finally have to accept that the well intentioned decision to appoint Emery has proved to be anything but the answer following the Wenger years.

The Gunners next travel to Norwich City in Sunday’s lunch time Premier League fixture.