Arsenal sack Unai Emery after 18 months in charge

Luke Bradshaw
·Sports Writer

Unai Emery has been sacked as head coach of Arsenal.

The move from the club follows a 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt at The Emirates on Thursday night and the club’s worst run of form since 1992.

Freddie Ljungberg will step in as interim head coach and take responsibility for the first team against Norwich City on Sunday.

The club wished the 48-year-old well, saying that he and his staff “were unrelenting in their efforts to get the club back to competing at the level we all expect and demand”.

Emery, who won the Europa League in three consecutive seasons while manager of Sevilla, was appointed in May 2018 but has struggled for form this campaign after reaching the Europa League final last season.

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Speaking on BT Sport after the team’s defeat last night, former Gunners defender Martin Keown said: "The team selection, the team motivation, the substitutions, the performance, everything was missing here. It was a dreadful performance. "He (Emery) seems to have lost the players and the desire has ebbed away."

Having spent around £130 million (on Nicolas Pepe, David Luiz, William Saliba and Kieran Tierney) in the close season strengthening the squad, a steady start has fallen apart drastically in the last couple of months.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 27: Arsenal head coach Unai Emery turna away as Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka takes off his shirt and walks straight down the tunnel after being substituted during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on October 27, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mark Leech/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)
Granit Xhaka remonstrates with fans (Credit: Getty Images)

The club has only won one game in their last nine in all competitions, with one only Premier League win since September 23rd.

The poor form has been exacerbated by strained relationships between senior players, the fans, the board and Emery himself.

In October, midfielder Granit Xhaka lost the club captaincy after telling Arsenal fans who booed him to “f**k off” as he was substituted in the team’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

While the club’s top score Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pulled the plug on contract talks after being told to not talk to certain sections of the team’s supporters, most notably contributors to the AFTV YouTube channel.

The striker responded on Instagram by saying: “I just arrived in Gabon and heard a lot of b*******t. I talk with who I want, whenever I want and if somebody’s not happy with… you already know.”

Club statement in full:

We announce today that the decision has been taken to part company with our head coach Unai Emery and his coaching team.

Speaking on behalf of the Arsenal board and our owners Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, Josh Kroenke said: “Our most sincere thanks go to Unai and his colleagues who were unrelenting in their efforts to get the club back to competing at the level we all expect and demand. We wish Unai and his team nothing but future success.”

The decision has been taken due to results and performances not being at the level required.We have asked Freddie Ljungberg to take responsibility for the first team as interim head coach.

We have full confidence in Freddie to take us forward.The search for a new head coach is underway and we will make a further announcement when that process is complete.

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