On May 23, 2018, 46-year-old and Spanish born Unai Emery signed for Arsenal from Paris Saint Germain after guiding them to the Ligue 1 tittle.
He had also won four domestic titles with PSG and had previously steered Sevilla to three Europa League triumphs.
With those achievements neatly arranged in his CV, Unai was able to beat former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta to the top job and he became the man to steer Arsenal to the next Chapter after Arsene Wenger’s 22 years at the helm of the club.
One year later, non of his past achievements matter anymore if the current statistics are anything to go by. More questions have continued to be raised over Unai’s style of play, his decision making, his game plan and above all team selection.
In just 44 games under his wings, Arsenal has only collected 81 points with 24 wins and 84 goals. More to that, in just 44 games Arsenal has conceded 61 goals and kept only 9 clean sheets. Shockingly, against Aston Villa ,Arsenal faced 31 shots on target from Villa’s point men. Suprised right? I am damn sure you are.
With this kind of performance, Unai’s job is on the line and it is so evident.
What really went wrong for the Spaniard? What is he doing wrong? What are the things that will cost him his job? These are some of the questions we hope to find answers to as we take look at some of the factors that could cost him his job.
- Granit Xhaka
On Monday, September 30, Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw by Manchester United in a premier League fixture.
It was really absurd to see Unai field in three defensive midfielders against a weak Manchester United. Matteo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka and Lucas Toreira started in midfield leaving little space for creativity and ball distribution to the attackers.
Fans felt Ceballos or Joe Willock should have started ahead of newly appointed captain Granit Xhaka.
It has been noted in the past 7 matches, Unai has insisted on playing Granit Xhaka who has constantly made errors that have guided the team to losses.
He is slow with the ball and makes poor decisions when the team is all out on attack. On the other hand, Joe Willock is seen to be much more quicker and good decision maker especially when the team is attacking.
It is a cliche but it is also true, or true enough: a furiously high-class attack might get you to a Champions League final but an unforgiving defence wins league titles.
So far in the season, Arsenal has shown its attacking capabilities with the new club record signing Nicolas Pepe showing desire to score goals. But the major problem for Unai Emery has been choosing the correct tactics that will allow players to grow from their strengths.
He has held on to defensive 4-3-3 formation with a Diamond approach but the wrong midfield combination has always let him down.
Matteo Guendouzi has solidified his position at the central midfield and has constantly proved he can be relied on, what is remaining is for Unai to bring in creative midfielders that will link with the attacking trio of Pepe, Aubameyang and Lacazette. Unai must stitch and mend his depleted defence and midfield.
It is only a walk of shame if you allow yourself to have shame. It should not happen that a man of Unai’s stature can be fired for poor decision making . Kindly share your thoughts on Unai’s performance and Arsenal in general.