Unai Emery has been sacked as Arsenal, Head Coach. His former assistant Freddie Ljungberg has been given the caretaker head coach role until a replacement is identified. Arsenal’s poor showing in the 2-1 Europa League Group F defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday night appears to have been the final straw for the Arsenal board, as Emery who was given the club’s backing only a few weeks ago was dismissed in an early morning meeting at the club’s London Colney training ground. In truth, this had been coming. Rumours of player frustration over tactics, formations and instructions seemed to bear fruit, with on field performances just a shambles.

 

Emery's lack of English didn't help him at Arsenal

 

Last Saturday’s Premier League 2-2 draw with Southampton would be the last time Emery would take charge of the Gunners in the English top flight, and it was his lack of English articulation which never seemed to improve leading to fan and player alienation alike. In post match media press conferences, Emery would routinely answer a question which he wanted to answer as opposed to what was being asked. Was that because he didn’t understand the question, or just further frustration with what may have just transpired on the pitch ?

Dispensing with his club appointed English translator proved to be a linguistic own goal, and the man who bizarrely named five captains, with a player vote for who got the armband has now seen his services are no longer required. 18 months into his two year contract, Arsenal will pay up the remainder of his term and look for a credible replacement.

Nuno Espirito Santo, Mauricio Pochettino, Carlo Ancelotti, Rafael Benitez, Massimiliano Allegri and Patrick Vieira are among the front runners to replace Emery.

 

Emery arrived as normal on Friday morning to prepare the players for Sunday’s Premier League trip to Carrow Road. He was asked to a meeting with the club hierarchy to then be told of their decision to part company. Emery apparently took the news as well as could be expected, and remained dignified. He then said his farewells to the players with some getting a personal message before he left.

There were of course a few flashes of what could have been. Emery lead the club to a 22 game unbeaten run, which included a 4-2 rout of Spurs. That run came to an end at Southampton where Arsenal relinquished their lead and fell to a 3-2 loss after Charlie Austin headed in the Saints’ winner. The scene of Bernd Leno and Austin chatting as they left the pitch at full time, and seemingly in discussion over how close Leno came to making the save will have made for shock viewing for the travelling Arsenal supporters and beyond.

 

Emery didn’t need to go to war with Mesut Ozil. He has experienced the big personality when managing Neymat at Paris Saint-Germain, but here, the fans became Ozil’s ally. The assumption that Arsenal only had a £40 summer transfer budget were kicked into touch when the Gunners brought in Pepe for £72m. So far that has proved to be a bit of a disaster, and especially given that the Premier League hardened Wilfried Zaha who indicated his preference for a switch to N5 was deemed to be too expensive at less than the Pepe fee.

 

Arsenal’s 4-1 capitulation in the Europa League final in Baku was not what would have been expected of Emery in a competition he has excelled in during his time in Spain. However, it was an ill fit from beginning to end. The man who brought him in former Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis described Emery as “the outstanding,” candidate in the summer. Gazidis has since departed to AC Milan, while Emery found that he was out of his depth in the task of getting Arsenal to a post Arsene Wenger level higher than that which Wenger had left on.

 

It proved to be a tough ask for Emery. Arsenal must now take their time to get the right man, an Arsenal type of man, proven at the top level and with a clear and strong grasp of the English language. Best get this right this time.