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Breaking News-Unai Emery SACKED as Arsenal manager as they call time on his 18 months in charge

 

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.

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Unai Emery has been dismissed as Arsenal's manager after his 18 months in charge

Unai Emery has been dismissed as Arsenal’s manager after his 18 months in charge

The Emirates Stadium turned on Emery on Thursday night as they lost to Eintracht Frankfurt

The Emirates Stadium turned on Emery on Thursday night as they lost to Eintracht Frankfurt

EMERY’S RECORD AS ARSENAL MANAGER

Games – 78

Wins – 43 | Draws – 16 | Defeats – 19

Win percentage – 55.13 per cent

Arsenal chiefs held a meeting on Friday morning to discuss his future following the loss and decided to can Emery.

Before the Frankfurt game, Emery was expected to get the chance to lead Arsenal into the match against Norwich and turn around their form.

But the defeat in the Europa League accelerated the process and they decided to end his contract early.

Former Arsenal player Freddie Ljungberg has been put in interim charge of the team.

Arsenal's hierarchy met to discuss Emery's future on Friday morning and chose to sack him

Arsenal’s hierarchy met to discuss Emery’s future on Friday morning and chose to sack him

Former player Freddie Ljungberg has been put in interim charge of the Emirates Stadium side

Former player Freddie Ljungberg has been put in interim charge of the Emirates Stadium side

Arsenal have also announced that they will now be carrying out the search for a new permanent head coach.

A statement from Josh Kroenke, son of majority owner Stan, 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.’

Ljungberg and Emery speaking on the touchline during the game against Frankfurt

Ljungberg and Emery speaking on the touchline during the game against Frankfurt

ARSENAL’S NEXT SIX MATCHES

Norwich City (A) – Sunday

Brighton (H) – December 5

West Ham (A) – December 9

Standard Liege (A – EL) – December 12

Manchester City (H) – December 15

Everton (A) – December 21

A further statement from an Arsenal spokesperson added: ‘The decision has been taken due to results and performances not being at the level required.’

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

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

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

By Adrian Kajumba

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.

Ljungberg's work with Joe Willock (right) has resulted in his progression to the first-team

Ljungberg’s work with Joe Willock (right) has resulted in his progression to the first-team

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.

The coach has been helping Reiss Nelson and his personal touch is appreciated

The coach has been helping Reiss Nelson and his personal touch is appreciated

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.

The former midfielder assisted with the transition of youngsters under Unai Emery

The former midfielder assisted with the transition of youngsters under Unai Emery

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.

Bukayo Saka has broken through into the first-team this season with Ljungberg's help

Bukayo Saka has broken through into the first-team this season with Ljungberg’s help

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.

Unai Emery has been dismissed as Arsenal's manager after his 18 months in charge

Unai Emery has been dismissed as Arsenal’s manager after his 18 months in charge

As news broke of his sacking, fans took to social media to voice their pleasure.

‘Get in, after so many months of endurance, finally,’ wrote one excited Arsenal supporter, while another posted a video of some of Arsenal’s best moments in celebration.

Arsenal haven’t won in the Premier League since early October, and they currently lie in eighth place in the league.

Another social media user joked about the particular day it happened: ‘Typical Arsenal, sacking him on Black Friday so they get 70% off his payout.’

Others joked that since we’re so close to December, the decision is acting as an early Christmas present.

Assistant coach Freddie Ljungberg is lined up as Emery’s replacement for now, and one Twitter user edited a famous image from The Shining, with Ljungberg as Jack Nicholson’s character breaking through the door.

Meanwhile, Piers Morgan, who has long been calling for Emery to be given his marching orders, tweeted out who his ideal replacements would be, praying for either Carlo Ancelotti, Max Allegri, or Mauricio Pochettino.

Ancelotti is currently manager of Napoli, while Allegri was most recently in charge of Juventus.

Others have eyed Pochettino as a potential replacement after his departure from Tottenham Hotspur, and someone else replied to the announcement with a simple gif of the Spaniard giving a cheeky raise of his eyebrows.

The jokes and memes starting coming in thick and fast. One posted a video of Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker walking along the road with the caption ‘live scenes of Emery leaving his office.’

Someone else posted a picture of former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger pointing and sneezing, although it looks suspiciously like a celebratory dab.

More classics, such as people using Mr. Bean, Brooklyn 99, and The Simpsons to joke about Emery’s departure, emerged soon after.

A statement from Josh Kroenke, son of majority owner Stan, 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.’

A further statement from an Arsenal spokesperson added: ‘The decision has been taken due to results and performances not being at the level required.Arsenal are understood to be keen on bringing in Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo as Emery’s replacement, while Brendan Rodgers and Eddie Howe are other names in the conversation.

THE MEN WHO COULD REPLACE EMERY AS ARSENAL MANAGER

By Danny Gallagher

Nuno Espirito Santo

The Wolves manager has hit every objection set down for him, since bringing the Midlands club back to the big time.

European qualification in his first season of Premier League football earned Santo admirers from around the globe.

The former goalkeeper has displayed astute levels of tactical awareness and is a deeply knowledgeable student of the game.

Nuno Espirito Santo has hit every objective at Wolves and earned admirers across the globe

Nuno Espirito Santo has hit every objective at Wolves and earned admirers across the globe

Wolves will fight tooth and nail to keep hold of their bearded messiah however, as they look to continue implementing their ‘seven year plan‘ and make themselves contenders for major honours.

Compensation costs to bring Santo to the Emirates would be sizeable, though the bookmakers currently place the Portuguese as the favourite for the position.

Mikel Arteta

It would be quite something for the powers that be at Arsenal to turn to Arteta, after deciding at the eleventh hour that their former midfielder was not ready for the task of replacing Arsene Wenger.

Arteta was overlooked in favour of Emery, and was said to have been left disappointed with the snub by the club he once captained.

Nonetheless, Arteta’s stock as an emerging coach remains high, and further time spent working on a daily basis with Pep Guardiola has done no harm at all.

Snubbed at the last minute to replace Arsene Wenger, Mikel Arteta is now back in the picture

Snubbed at the last minute to replace Arsene Wenger, Mikel Arteta is now back in the picture

When last considered for the Arsenal position, which was ’90 per cent’ down the line, Manchester City had said they would not stand in the way of the Spaniard taking to the dug-out.

This time around, however, City are much less inclined to let Arteta depart. The 37-year-old is a crucial member of the coaching staff at the Etihad, as Guardiola’s men prepare to both defend their Premier League title and aim to finally capture the Champions League.

The bookmakers currently have Arteta as 9/2, second favourite behind Santo, to succeed Emery at the Emirates.

Massimiliano Allegri

An immediate choice for many Gunners, Allegri provides a perfect blend of experience and bold personality.

The 52-year-old has been taking a break away from management after leaving Juventus last summer and making way for Maurizio Sarri. In his spare time he has been taking English lessons, which could soon prove very useful indeed.

Having managed Italian giants AC Milan as well as Juve, Allegri knows what it takes to have the pressure of competing on the highest level for silverware.

Massimiliano Allegri has vast experienced and would mean Arsenal can turn to a big name

Massimiliano Allegri has vast experienced and would mean Arsenal can turn to a big name

Allegri would arrive with six Serie A league titles to his name, along with a vast collection of honours across the Italian top flight.

Twice Allegri had guided Juve to a Champions League final, and has won manager of the year four times in his homeland.

The cost-effective process of getting Allegri would be ideal for the Gunners, who would not have to worry about compensation matters. His lack of Premier League experience however could be a worry, as Arsenal need a man to come in and pick things up instantly.

Allegri is currently priced at 8/1 to make his first foray to the Premier League.

Carlo Ancelotti

A long-time favourite of Gunners supporters and a winner through and through.

The former Chelsea boss has won it all – the Premier League, the Champions League, Serie A, the Bundesliga, Ligue 1, the list goes on. Arsenal have won a handful of FA Cups in recent years but if you want someone who can help you win major honours, Ancelotti is your man.

His current club Napoli are currently in turmoil after the players revolted against the club’s owner, but the Italian boss has insisted he is happy where he is.

Carlo Ancelotti is a born winner and is one of few men with three Champions League victories

Carlo Ancelotti is a born winner and is one of few men with three Champions League victories

‘I stay with Napoli, of course,’ he said. ‘These are rumours. I have white hair and experience. In this moment they are all rumours.’

The 60-year-old is currently struggling to lift a Napoli side that has no wins in eight, but with the strife ongoing at the club he could be convinced to take on a new challenge should be be approached by the Arsenal board.

But it has been reported that any club wishing to prise Ancelotti from Napoli would have to pay a hefty sum to release him from his contract.

Eddie Howe

Bournemouth manager Howe was another consideration when the matter of replacing Wenger was hot on the lips of the Arsenal board members.

The risk of hiring a young manager and giving him a first shot at the big time was deemed too great last time around, though things may well be about to change.

As the elite level experience of Emery has all but failed to translate in north London, Arsenal could now turn to the league’s longest serving manager.

Earning plaudits for many seasons with Bournemouth, Eddie Howe could be in line for big job

Earning plaudits for many seasons with Bournemouth, Eddie Howe could be in line for big job

Taking Howe to the Emirates would mirror that of Liverpool hiring Brendan Rodgers in 2012. Though that tenure had a sour end, the Northern Irishman rejuvenated the way football was played at Anfield, bringing back style and identity to Liverpool while offering hope and a title challenge to boot.

As Howe has more Premier League experience under his belt than Rodgers did upon signing on the dotted line on Merseyside, Arsenal will see the option as an attractive one.

Howe would of course be difficult to prise from Bournemouth. He is revered at the Vitality Stadium, and seen as pivotal to both the Cherries’ top flight status and future progress. He currently sits as an outside runner for the role at 16/1.

Mauricio Pochettino

And so to perhaps the most interesting one of all.

Pochettino to Arsenal would be huge, and not purely down to the fact that one of the most exciting managers in European football would be taking the reigns.

The rivalry in the north London derby would crank up tenfold, given Pochettino’s hugely successful tenure at White Hart Lane.

Bookmakers currently price Pochettino at 8/1 to take over, which reflects the dynamic that a decision would purely be one taken by the coach himself rather than the club.

A move for Mauricio Pochettino would ruffle many feathers but deliver a top quality manager

A move for Mauricio Pochettino would ruffle many feathers but deliver a top quality manager

It’s perhaps safe to say that if Pochettino gave Arsenal the green light, little to no hesitation would be made.

One of the most in-demand coaches on the continent, Pochettino is now freely available and ready to start work as he chooses.

Last season it would have taken around £40million to pull the Argentine out of his lucrative and water-tight contract at Spurs, but now things have dramatically changed.

Arsenal could offer Pochettino many of the things he enjoys, including state-of-the-art facilities, an ever-burgeoning academy and a youthful senior squad ready to be cultivated and taken to the next level.

Budget however remains a huge obstacle, and something Emery has had to juggle for the duration of his time in England.

One of Pochettino’s main gripes at Spurs was an enduring feeling that progress was being held back due to limited investment. It would be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire in this regard at Arsenal, with the club desperately in need of a full rebuild of their own.

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