When Arsenal chose to appoint Unai Emery as the manager of the club prior to the start of last season, Arsenal supporters were thrilled at having an accomplished manager at the helm of their club. Emery had a strong record in the Europa League with Sevilla where he also triumphed over Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the 2016 Europa League final. With three Europa League Cups and one Ligue 1 title under his belt, Emery seemed like the perfect candidate for Arsenal’s rebuilding project after club legend Arsene Wenger’s departure.
The likes of Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi were signed in his first season in charge, but Arsenal failed it to make it to the Champions League that season. They did make it through to the Europa League final, which was familiar territory for Unai Emery, but Arsenal succumbed to a 4-1 defeat to their Premier League rivals, Chelsea. It was not a disappointing first season by any means, but Emery was just starting to understand the magnitude of the rebuilding task at hand.
87 - Arsenal have won 87 points in their 50 Premier League games under Unai Emery (W25 D12 L13) - one fewer than they managed in their final 50 under Arsene Wenger (W27 D7 L16). Regression. pic.twitter.com/jAfA0dzuIj— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 9, 2019
This season has seen Arsenal regress to their old ways. While Arsenal found themselves consistently in the top four under Arsene Wenger (except in his final two seasons in charge), the Gunners do not look like contenders for the Champions League spots this season as well. The #EmeryOut hashtag has started to trend on Twitter and Arsenal fans are now incensed with their manager. Video compilations of the Spaniards famous "Good Evening" message have also popped up all over social media. Where has it all gone wrong for Unai Emery?
For starters, the Arsenal manager continues to employ defensive midfielder Lucas Torreira in an advanced position in midfield despite his obvious strength being in defence. With the likes of David Luiz starting in the heart of the Arsenal defence, employing Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi could go a long way in providing some stability to the midfield. It could also give some freedom to the attacking talents of Mesut Ozil, but the German has found himself marginalized more often than not this season.
Confusion has reigned over Unai Emery's tactics in the Premier League this season. Despite being in his second season in charge at the Emirates, Emery has still not figured out his best playing XI and the Spaniard cannot seem to settle on a permanent formation for the team. The Arsenal board has backed the manager with some heavy investment this summer with the likes of Kieran Tierney and Nicolas Pepe making their way to the Emirates. However, Emery has failed to get the best out of Arsenal's club-record signing. In Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal have arguably two of the most talented strikers in the Premier League. However, Emery seems to be rushing Lacazette into action every time the former Lyon striker makes a comeback from injury.
Emery's relationship with his players is eerily similar to Leicester City's players with Claudio Ranieri in February 2017, when he was forced out of the club virtually on the players' insistence. Reports have consistently emerged that the manager has lost the dressing room. While Emery may not have gotten much wrong in the way of tactics in Arsenal's last Premier League game against Southampton at the Emirates, the Arsenal players appeared to down tools after going behind to a Southampton side that was battered 9-0 by Leicester City earlier this season. Could a Leicester-like mutiny be on the cards at Arsenal?