This article forms part of our Potential Consequences feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern take a look at a recent report and suggest what the implications could be.
Will Unai Emery survive the season in charge of Arsenal?
Arsenal’s season hit a new low on Monday night as they were downed by Premier League newboys Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
A poacher’s effort from the unmarked Lys Mousset gave the Blades all three points as the Gunners’ woeful away form showed few signs of improving following their desperate defeat to Chris Wilder’s side.
The result had prompted journalists to pose one question: whether Unai Emery is the right man to take Arsenal forward:
Ok. It was an sad discussion we had in the car on the way home from Bramall Lane late on Monday night/early Tuesday morning & with every Gooner we’ve talked to – but the question has to be asked:
Is Unai Emery the right man to lead Arsenal?
If yes, why – and if not, why not? pic.twitter.com/j82txYE4xA
— Layth (@laythy29) October 22, 2019
Morning you shiny happy people. Turns out Arsenal are statistically -7 points and -9 goal difference worse off than last year in comparable Premier League fixtures. Piece about how the clock is starting to tick for Unai Emery. https://t.co/ZKlUCSgGz9
— Amy Lawrence (@amylawrence71) October 22, 2019
Right, @TheAthleticUK Q&A time.
• What does this result mean for Unai Emery’s future?
• Where do Arsenal go from here?
Jump in and let’s go.https://t.co/RnNEzeLqUg
— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) October 21, 2019
Under the Spaniard, the Gunners are no closer to regaining a spot in the Champions League despite an appearance in the Europa League final and going into the final months of the previous Premier League season in third place – only to falter in its closing weeks. Indeed, recent results have prompted pundits such as Darren Bent (on talkSPORT via the Express) to suggest sacking the former PSG coach could be a good way to go.
So should Arsenal decide Emery’s time in North London should be cut short, here’s a look at what might be in store for the Gunners…
The return of Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil has seen his presence dwindle since Emery’s arrival at Arsenal – with the German remaining out of the squad for all but four occasions this year. To make things worse, he was only gifted minutes on two of those.
While there could be an argument to say his personal levels have dipped in recent years, it is clear that mere opportunities are not even being offered to the World Cup winner to seemingly change the manager’s mind to play him.
Having been a regular prior to Emery’s tenure at Arsenal, the prospect of making his way back into the team can surely only increase judging by the small amount of games he has appeared in so far this season.
A new era
Of course, much of that decision with regards to Ozil and a whole lot more besides will rest with the individual charged with restoring Arsenal to their former heights.
Whether Arsenal would plump for a total beginner such as Mikel Arteta (who was linked with the role 18 months ago) or someone with as glittering a CV as former nemesis Jose Mourinho (who was talked up as a potential successor a few weeks ago), the Gunners will have to be led in a new direction by someone else – and would likely be the most critical decision in such a scenario with the club’s future at stake.
A step forward… or backwards?
The way to define success post-Emery will be in relation to which direction they end up travelling in.
It could be argued, with Arsenal occupying the same areas of the table as they were upon Arsene Wenger’s final years – and with the knowledge that the likes of Spurs and Manchester United have demonstrated it could be even worse – that Emery has still left Arsenal at something of a crossroads since taking over in May 2018.
With the lessons learned from his as-yet fruitless period in charge at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal may be wiser in terms of appointing a successor that can lead the Gunners to a prolonged future at the right end of the table.
The fortunes of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at United show that nothing is a given, but there will surely be a change in some regard having frustratingly stalled during Emery’s reign.
Arsenal fans, do you think a decision should be made regarding the manager’s future? Let us know in the comments below!
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