Arsenal’s season hits new low: What now for Unai Emery and his side?

Arsenal’s season hits new low: What now for Unai Emery and his side?

Unai Emery says he still retains the support of Arsenal’s hierarchy despite the Gunners’ faltering season slumping to a new low during a damaging 2-0 defeat at Leicester.

The setback, Arsenal’s fourth successive match without victory, leaves Emery’s side nine points behind Leicester in the Premier League table and already in serious danger of missing out on Champions League qualification.

  • Leicester 2-0 Arsenal – Match report and highlights
  • Premier League table | Premier League fixtures

“We need time and we need patience,” Emery insisted to Sky Sports. “We changed a lot of players and we have young players. We know we are in a way with a very demanding, very ambitious in our target but we know we need time and patience.”

Asked directly if he believed Arsenal were still behind him, Emery simply replied: “Yes”.

But the defeat capped a terrible run of form for Arsenal since the last international break, with Emery’s side collecting just two points from four games against Sheffield United, Crystal Palace, Wolves and Leicester.

“The most important thing is being calm, being ambitious and demanding our self to work and stand up in our mentality and in our work,” added Emery.

Emery calls for calm

For Arsenal, the defeat at Leicester was another galling 90 minutes and they now sit eight points off the top four with Emery’s remit to take the club back to the Champions League now looking further away than ever since his appointment last May.

Two wins from 10 in the league has seen the pressure mount on Emery’s position with “Emery Out” once again trending on Twitter in the immediate aftermath of the game.

But the beleaguered Spaniard has defended his team time and again and has asked for patience as the international fixtures promise to give him a little respite from growing criticism.

“For me, as a coach, it’s about continuing stronger and improving with our players,” he said. “I am speaking with the club to stay calm and to stay patient to improve and recover some confidence with some circumstances.

“We are receiving criticism but I know that’s my job. I’ve had lots of moments like that but I’ve recovered by working to get confidence, being together with the club and players.

“I accept all [of the criticism]. I accept the applause and I accept it when they criticise us. I know when we win, they are going to be happy and when we lose, they are going to be sad. It’s normal.

“We need to stay calm and also keep improving things. Today we got one step ahead by being together and being strong defensively. But we lost because we were playing a very strong team in a good moment.”

‘Emery has disconnect with the players’

Analysis from Sky Sports’ Alan Smith:

“Leicester have confirmed what we thought. They are a better team and a more organised outfit than Arsenal. There is a disconnect between Emery and that Arsenal squad.

“There is a big gap between the two sides now.”

  • Leicester 2-0 Arsenal – Match report and highlights
  • Premier League table | Premier League fixtures

‘Bigger problems than the coach’

Analysis from former Arsenal captain Tony Adams:

“It’s easy to blame the manager in these situations, although I don’t think he’s done himself a lot of favours with things like the handling of the captaincy situation, for example.

“Against Leicester, he got them organised. They did the best they could. It’s one thing getting back, getting defensive and getting your shape, but then you’ve got to go and press, and Arsenal didn’t do that. You’ve got to go and make contact with the players, but they just sat back. 85 per cent of goals come inside the box and they sat so deep they were sitting with me in the stand.

“There are not [any leaders in the squad]. The recruitment has been very poor for a few years now. It’s difficult if you haven’t got the players. The manager must be pulling his hair out because what do you do? We came here expecting a good hiding and we got one. That’s not the mentality to have.

“I don’t think those players go onto the pitch thinking we are going to keep a clean sheet and that’s infectious. Defensively we’ve got worse. Koscielny has gone and David Luiz hasn’t helped us.


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