HomeTop NewsUnai Emery named Arsenal player among "several problems" that cost him his...

Unai Emery named Arsenal player among “several problems” that cost him his job

 Unai Emery named Arsenal player among “several problems” that cost him his job

Unai Emery’s tenure at Arsenal seems like a distant memory, as his current success with Aston Villa has rejuvenated his reputation. 

If we go back to November 29, 2019, Emery was dismissed by Arsenal due to unsatisfactory results and performances. 

At that time, he had overseen a seven-game winless streak, the club’s poorest run since 1992, and appeared to be a disheartened figure.


Emery’s stint at Arsenal lasted only 18 months, during which he was brought in to guide the team into a new era post-Arsene Wenger. 

Despite initial promises of an exciting and proactive style of football, his tenure unraveled quickly, adopting a more pragmatic and muddled approach. 

Leadership issues in the dressing room, coupled with questionable decisions regarding the captaincy, further compounded his challenges.

Fast forward to the present, and with Aston Villa currently occupying the fifth spot in the Premier League, it’s challenging to reconcile the Emery who struggled at Arsenal with the current successful version. 

Surprisingly, only 1,450 days separate the Emery who faced dismissal at Arsenal from the one currently thriving with Villa. In reflecting on his past struggles, ArsenalBrief Football examines the issues that hindered his time in North London and how he has learned from them to achieve success with Villa.

‘Several problems’

Emery secured victories in 43 out of his 78 games as the head of Arsenal, a success rate only slightly lower than his current one at Aston Villa. However, the circumstances couldn’t be more contrasting. Back then, there was a lack of a clear vision and a cohesive dressing room.

Upon his arrival at Arsenal, Emery outlined his football philosophy to Sky Sports, stating, “Our style with the ball is to be protagonists, to employ combinations, control the match with ball positioning, and then, when space allows, be aggressive in our forward play. 

Defensively, the first priority is organization and swift ball recovery.”

Although there were glimpses of this approach, it was never sustained consistently. The confused style was further complicated by the captaincy situation. 

Granit Xhaka was chosen by a team vote to lead a five-man leadership group, including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Hector Bellerin, Alexandre Lacazette, and Mesut Ozil. 

However, Xhaka was soon stripped of the captain’s armband following a heated confrontation with supporters, dealing a blow to Emery’s authority.

The disappointment of Nicolas Pepe’s performance added to Emery’s challenges. 

Despite being acquired for a club-record fee of £72 million in the summer of 2019, the Ivory Coast international failed to deliver the “pace, power, creativity, and more goals” that Emery had anticipated. 

During Emery’s tenure, Pepe managed three goals and four assists in 16 games but fell short of being the transformative signing his manager had envisioned.

“I am clear about my diagnosis and we did good things there. I think we had a good first year, taking two competitions well as Europa League and Premier League,” Emery told Marca a few months after being sacked. 

“The process was good. When we played possession, we did it; when we had to press, we did it. And we were competitive, playing as the game required. With moments of possession game and moments of three quick touches.

“This second year, we have not played well. We have not defended well. We have not been competitive, we did not transmit – and I told the players myself. 

There were several problems: four captains; the Ozil-Kolasinac case; Pepe’s signing, who needs time since he came from France. We didn’t play well, that’s for sure.”

Pepe has since moved on to play in Turkey, as he was sold to Trabzonspor at a reduced price during the summer. In his overall stint with Arsenal, he contributed 27 goals and 21 assists in 112 appearances. Additionally, he spent a loan spell at Nice last season.

Villa revival

Emery has successfully overcome the challenges of his past, carrying forward his impressive track record with Spanish teams, particularly in the Europa League, to his current position with Villa. 

The team is currently just three points away from the top of the league.

“You can make an argument that Unai Emery is the third best manager in this Premier League,” Jamie Carragher said on Sky Sports last weekend. “You’ve probably got Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, they are Champions League winners.

“But when you look at the body of work of Unai Emery, not just at Aston Villa, he’s continually winning Europa Leagues. Mikel Arteta and even Mauricio Pochettino haven’t got that CV in terms of winning trophies.”

 Unai Emery named Arsenal player among “several problems” that cost him his job


Related News

- Advertisement -