Unai Emery SACKED as Arsenal manager amid worst run of form since 1992 as club’s hierarchy call time on Spaniard’s 18-month spell in charge.
Arsenal lost 2-1 against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday. They are in the middle of their worst run of form since 1992 after that defeat. Unai Emery was only appointed in the summer of 2018 but has now been sacked.
Freddie Ljungberg has been put in interim charge of Arsenal by the owners.
Unai Emery has been sacked as Arsenal’s manager after 18 months in charge.
The Spaniard was hired as the replacement for long-term manager Arsene Wenger in the summer of 2018 but has overseen Arsenal’s worst run of form since 1992 in recent months.
They lost 2-1 against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday evening in the Europa League and have not won in the Premier League since early October.
Arsenal are understood to be keen on bringing in Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo as Emery’s replacement.
But there is an awareness at the Emirates that they might find it difficult to prise him away from the Midlands in the middle of the season.
Ljungberg, who has spent the season as one of Emery’s coaches and previously worked with the academy, has been given a temporary shot at the job.
Another former midfielder Mikel Arteta is also thought to be a candidate for the role, having missed out when Emery was appointed.
Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo is thought to be a key target for Arsenal as a replacement +23
Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo is thought to be a key target for Arsenal as a replacement.
Sportsmail reported earlier this week that Arsenal’s top stars were considering their futures if Emery stayed in charge.
They risked losing both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette as they looked unlikely to qualify for the Champions League under Emery.
There were also thoughts that Emery was too conservative in his approach as Arsenal manager.
On Thursday night, Sportsmail columnist Martin Keown made it clear he thought Emery’s time was up.
Another former midfielder Mikel Arteta is also thought to be a candidate for the role
NEXT MANAGER ODDS
Nuno Santo – 4/5
Mikel Arteta – 9/2
Freddie Ljungberg – 11/2
Mauricio Pochettino – 8/1
Massimiliano Allegri – 8/1
Rafael Benitez – 14/1
Eddie Howe – 16/1
Ralf Rangnick – 20/1
Per Mertesacker – 25/1
‘I think he may have taken the team as far as he can,’ Keown said, speaking to BT Sport.
‘We just witnessed an absolute shambles of a performance in that second half. The decisions, the team selection, the team motivation, the substitutions, the performance… everything was missing here, that was a dreadful performance.
‘The fans turned many years ago on Terry Neil, 37 years ago, I was at the football club when it happened and things got very toxic. I think we’re getting close to that again. Is he able to motivate the team? He seems to have lost the players. The desire seems to have ebbed away.’
Emery was announced as the Arsenal manager in May 2018. He took them to fifth in the Premier League and the Europa League final in his first season but has been sacked with his team in eighth and eight points away from the Champions League places.
Freddie Ljungberg knows more about Arsenal’s past and future than anyone else… he’s been likened to a schoolteacher and now his straight-talking style gets a go as interim boss after Unai Emery’s sacking
Freddie Ljungberg made a career out of spotting little gaps, picking the perfect time to make his move into them and pouncing.
The former attacking, goal-scoring midfielder clearly retains that happy knack, years on from his retirement.
When Arsenal were plotting a summer reshuffle of their coaching set-up, Ljungberg identified a pocket of space he felt he could move into in the Gunners’ backroom team which would get the best use out of his qualities as a coach.
Under 23s manager last year, the Swede believed he could be utilised to help some of Arsenal’s promising youngsters make the leap from youth to senior football.
The idea was put to former head coach Unai Emery for his take, having built up a rapport with Steve Bould in his first season in charge at the Emirates.
Once he gave the positional moves the green light, Ljungberg was promoted to assistant first-team coach, while Bould replaced him in charge of Arsenal’s second string, returning to work with the academy which he had done during a previous 11-year stint.
Along with his first team coaching duties, Ljungberg’s also had a significant secondary role, in which he was effectively a transitions manager tasked with helping smooth the path for some of the players he has worked with in Arsenal’s youth set up into the first team.
He was Under 23s manager last season and also had a previous spell in the 2016-17 season coaching the club’s Under 15s and also their Under 19 UEFA Youth League side.
Ljungberg has quickly made his presence felt this season.
Midfielder Joe Willock has made some big strides forward continuing his progress after a handful of first-team appearances last season.
His running stats during Arsenal’s matches and fitness tests are understood to be among the highest of all of Emery’s players.
And that work he has been putting in has been rewarded, not just with game time in pre-season but a place in Emery’s Premier League team at the beginning of the season.
Willock praised Ljungberg for the part he has played in his ongoing development.
The 20-year-old said in August: ‘Freddie is not only such a legend at the club, he’s an unbelievable manager and coach.
‘He’s a mentor for me, he showed me a lot behind the scenes that people don’t really know about. Every day I’m working with him and I’m learning from him.
‘He’s improved my whole overall game. If I’m being specific, getting in the pockets when I’m playing No 10 and attacking at No 8. He showed me a lot of different tactics to get space and turn to attack other teams. Those are the main things really.’
Robbie Burton is another player whose story shows precisely what the value was of having Ljungberg on board.
The composed midfielder was a surprise inclusion in the 29-man squad for Arsenal’s pre-season tour of America.
And Emery admitted at the time: ‘He [Ljungberg] is helping us with the young players because he knows better than us every young player.
‘For example Robbie [Burton], I didn’t know Robbie. Freddie said to me he’s a good player with the capacity to play as a 6 or 8. Really he helped us like we needed.’
That insight is typical of what Ljungberg brought to the role.
Arsenal’s kids had a spring in their step over the summer knowing that with Ljungberg part of Emery’s backroom team, their prospects were enhanced.
Indeed, Ljungberg was keen to push the Gunners’ youngsters into as many first-team situations as possible whether that is in training or matches, to give them as much experience of what life is like at the very top.
As a member of Arsenal’s famous Invincible side of 2003/04, winner of two titles, three FA Cups and a Premier League player of the season award Ljungberg has legendary status at the club and an aura.
Yet it is his personal touch which has made him stand out for many of the Gunners’ young hopefuls.
The attention to detail and focus on specific elements of Willock’s game has been replicated with others too.
Ljungberg is a big fan of Bukayo Saka, another who has benefitted from one-on-one time with Ljungberg, and who has emerged in the first-team at the start of the season.
Ljungberg has been working closely with Saka, passing on all his knowledge of the 17 year-old’s position to try and aid his development.
As a coach, straight-talker Ljungberg has been likened to that school teacher who is firm and commands respect but also liked by his pupils.
He appears to have struck the perfect balance of being able to put players in their place and tell them when they need to raise their game but also understand the human element of his role and that some of the players he is trying to help develop are still youngsters who need nurturing and constructive criticism.
That awareness has increased his popularity among players – a point which should not be understated as now he takes on first-team responsibilities, starting with a trip to Norwich on Sunday.
‘Get in!’: Arsenal fans rejoice on Twitter as Unai Emery is sacked… as Piers Morgan prays for Carlo Ancelotti, Mauricio Pochettino, or Max Allegri to be named as his replacement
Arsenal have sacked Unai Emery as their manager, and it has been a popular decision among fans of the club on social media.
The Spaniard was in charge for 18 months, but has overseen Arsenal’s worst run of form in 27 years in recent weeks.
The final straw was a 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday. Arsenal chiefs met on Friday morning and decided to get rid of Emery/Mail Online.