It is no news that Arsenal’s Unai Emery has his job under threat. Arsenal have never really been convincing since the Spaniard took over. His first two PL games as Arsenal manager was against Manchester City and Chelsea. He lost both games and after, his team went 22 games undefeated in all competitions till they fell 3-2 to Southampton in December of 2018. Emery also led Arsenal in a decent Europa League campaign that saw them eliminate Napoli and Valencia on their way to the final.
Arsenal f.c. Unai Emery
Unai Emery Arsenal
That’s as good as it gets as Arsenal’s poor form towards the end of last season has spilled into the current season. With five league games left last season, Arsenal had their top-four destiny in their hands but they went on to lose three of those including a lackluster draw against Brighton. The Europa League final was Arsenal’s last hope for CL qualification but they capitulated, losing the game 4-1 to Chelsea. All of these happened last season but why is Unai Emery facing a sack early into the 2019/2020 season.
EMERY IS AT SIXES AND SEVENS TACTICALLY
The Premier League is an unforgiving league. Manchester City lost Aymeric Laporte early into the season and their defensive woes are well documented. How does this apply to Arsenal? It is the fact that Unai Emery does not know his best XI or best set-up yet. He shuffled between 4-2-3-1 and 3-4-3 last season but whatever is plan is this season has not been working out. He played a back three against Vitoria Setubal and Arsenal struggled to get any shot on target in the first half. He opted for a diamond midfield against Liverpool and Wolves and his team were overpowered consistently in the middle of the park. This instability in team set up has cost Arsenal many takeable points.
HORRIBLE DEFENSIVE SHOWINGS
Arsenal’s defense has always been their undoing even under Arsene Wenger. The problem is things have only gotten worse under Unai Emery especially this season. Arsenal are facing shots like they have toddlers in front of Bernd Leno. Any attacking forays against the Gunners will almost result in ot a shot at their goal and this no good situation for a ‘big team’. The Gunners have faced 225 shots in just 13 games- an average of over 17 per game. They have faced 71 in their last three PL games. Their weak defense has seen them throw away leads and draw winnable games. You look at the Premier League table and Arsenal’s goal difference and you know why the fans are calling for his head.
BUILDING PLAY FROM THE BACK
It is normal for coaches to experiment with tactics but not that the expense of playing against the strength of your players. Unai Emery has been trying to make Arsenal build their attack from the back starting with the goalkeeper but the fact is Arsenal players are not cut out for the task. David Luiz is a good passer but not the best ball-playing central defender. Sokratis is a no-nonsense defender on his day but that’s it. His loose pass in an attempt to play out from the back cost Arsenal the match against Watford. The same almost happened against Southampton last time out. Teams know Emery is very rigid with this approach so they press Arsenal high up the pitch. Leicester executed their press successfully and put Arsenal to the sword. Other teams came from behind to draw Arsenal. The Gunners faithful are tired of seeing their team beloved team like this.
USING PLAYERS OUTSIDE OF THEIR POSITION
It there is anything annoying the Gunners faithful these days, it is Emery’s decision to keep sticking to decisions that are not working. The Spaniard has not been using his best players in some positions which is affecting the overall performance of the team. One major player suffering from because of this is the energetic Lucas Torreira. The diminutive Uruguayan is Arsenal’s best midfield enforcer but Emery keeps deploying him high up the pitch. Combine a weak defense with no cover from the midfield and you see why Arsenal have been facing shots like a target in a shooting range.
Arsenal’s chairman has confirmed the Spaniard will oversee Arsenal’s UEL fixture against Eintracht Frankfurt. A slip up against the Bundesliga side may be the last straw that breaks the camel’s neck.