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Unai Emery sacked: Arsenal begin search for next manager with Spaniard sacked after 18 months

Emery has been sacked in the wake of Arsenal’s home loss to Eintracht Frankfurt

Luke Brown
Friday 29 November 2019 13:30
Unai Emery has been sacked by Arsenal
Unai Emery has been sacked by Arsenal

Arsenal have sacked manager Unai Emery following a dismal run of seven games without a win.

The club have appointed former player Freddie Ljunberg as interim head coach, having terminated Emery’s contract due to “results and performances not being at the level required”.

In a short statement, the club added: “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.”

Arsenal director Josh Kroenke meanwhile expressed his gratitude to Emery and his backroom team.

“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,” Kroenke said.

The Independent understands that Manchester City assistant head coach Mikel Arteta currently tops the club’s list of candidates to replace Emery. Arteta had previously been very close to the job in May 2018 only for Arsenal to make a late decision to appoint Emery.

Wolves’ Nuno Espirito Santo, Napoli’s Carlo Ancelotti and the unemployed Max Allegri are also being considered.

On Thursday Arsenal lost 2-1 at home to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League, with the club enduring their longest winless run since February 1992.

At full-time the Spaniard was jeered by the sparse Emirates crowd, with some supporters holding ‘Emery Out’ posters.

“Now our moment is not good,” Emery said after the defeat. “I can understand the criticism about the team and about me. We are not in a good moment.”

Emery, 48, replaced Arsene Wenger in May 2018 but was unable to lead the club back into the Champions League.

In his first season in charge the club did reach the final of the Europa League, only to lose 4-1 to London rivals Chelsea.

The club spent over £100m in the transfer market this summer but have made a poor start to the current campaign, winning just four of their opening 13 Premier League matches.

Arsenal currently sit eighth in the Premier League table – one point above both Manchester United and north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur – and next play Norwich City at Carrow Road on Sunday.

Latest updates:

Do you agree with Arsenal's decision to sack Unai Emery? Let us know in the comments section below.


Arsenal have sacked Unai Emery as manager. Our story:

Lawrence Ostlere29 November 2019 10:18

Emery was in charge of the Gunners for 18 months, and led them to a fifth-placed finish in his 2018-19 with 70 points, narrowly missing out on qualification for the Champions League. That marked a small improvement on Arsene Wenger's final campaign as manager, when the club finished sixth in the league with 63 points, and seemed to indicate some progress, but a sluggish start to the current season has left Arsenal eighth and without a league win since beating Bournemouth 1-0 on 8 October. 

Lawrence Ostlere29 November 2019 10:25

It seems last night's dismal showing in front of a lethargic and half-empty Emirates Stadium was the final straw. Arsenal lost 2-1 to Frankfurt in the Europa League, meaning they are still not officially qualified for the competition's knockout stages with one round of group games to play. 

Lawrence Ostlere29 November 2019 10:28

The obvious question – even this soon – is who on earth takes over? Freddie Ljungberg has been installed as an interim solution but is not thought to be in the running for the long-term job – although these things can change with a few results. Here are the leading candidates:

Lawrence Ostlere29 November 2019 10:40

The favourites appear to be Carlo Ancelotti, the Napoli manager in charge of a split squad, Mikel Arteta, the Manchester City assistant learning under Pep Guardiola and who came close to taking the job before Emery, and Max Allegri, the former Juventus manager who is currently out of work. Whether Allegri is willing to roll out of hammock to take on the enormous and near-unachievable ambitions of Arsenal remains to be seen. 

Lawrence Ostlere29 November 2019 10:47

If one thing characterised Emery's time at the Emirates, it was indecision. He never settled on a favoured formation, constantly flicking between a carousel of ideas, and this just about sums up those confusing messages and direction:

Lawrence Ostlere29 November 2019 10:53

This from our chief football writer Miguel Delaney: Mikel Arteta tops four-man shortlist to replace sacked Unai Emery.

Lawrence Ostlere29 November 2019 10:55

Here's what Carlo Ancelotti had to say following Napoli's draw with Liverpool on Wednesday night:

“I stay with Napoli, of course,” Ancelotti told BT Sport, with a laugh. “These are rumours. I have white hair and experience. In this moment they are all rumours.”

Lawrence Ostlere29 November 2019 10:58

More from Miguel Delaney on the search for Emery's replacement:

Sources say that they are still some way off a full appointment. Arsenal decided in the international break to give Emery a run of "winnable" games until mid-December, in the hope they could restore the team's confidence and get things back on track, but it quickly became apparent after the 2-2 draw with Southampton that it would just make things worse. The Eintracht Frankfurt defeat, and - crucially - the thousands of empty seats, were seen as a nadir so the club decided to accelerate the process.

Lawrence Ostlere29 November 2019 11:05

Arsenal Supporters' Trust react to the "inevitable" news:

Lawrence Ostlere29 November 2019 11:31

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