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ARSENAL fans got their wish today when manager Unai Emery was dismissed following the club’s worst run of form in 27 years, and 18 months after the Spaniard succeeded Arsene Wenger as manager of the Premier League club.
The Gunners lost to Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 in the Europa League on Thursday in front of a sparse and disgruntled crowd at Ashburton Grove. The loss extended Arsenal’s winless run to seven matches — the club’s worst streak since 1992.
In the Premier League, Arsenal has dropped to eighth place.
“The decision has been taken due to results and performances not being at the level required,” Arsenal said in a statement.
Freddie Ljungberg has been put in temporary charge. The former player, who was promoted from his assistant’s position, has only two days to prepare the team before Arsenal travel to Norwich tomorrow.
Arsenal finished fifth in the league in Emery’s first season and reached the Europa League final, where they suffered a humiliating loss to Chelsea.
“However long I oversee [at] Arsenal for I will give everything I have to put smiles on faces again,” Ljungberg wrote on Twitter. “We have a busy few weeks ahead and the team needs your support. Let’s get to work!”
Emery’s departure came 10 days after Tottenham fired Mauricio Pochettino following a poor run of form. Emery is the third Premier League manager to depart this season after Pochettino and Watford’s Javi Gracia.
Wenger spent 22 years in charge at Arsenal. The club hoped Emery could revive the winning ways seen under the Frenchman.
Emery arrived at Arsenal after leaving Paris Saint-Germain, where he won the French title but couldn’t deliver the European success the Qatari-owned club craves. Before that, he won three Europa League titles with Sevilla.
After losing his opening Premier League games to Chelsea and Manchester City in August 2018, Emery’s Arsenal went on a 22-game unbeaten run. However, that same consistency has been missing this season with losses to Sheffield United and Leicester.
Arsenal had a distinctive, easy-on-the-eye approach under Wenger but Emery’s team had no discernible style, even though he stated his intention to adopt a high-energy pressing game upon his arrival.
Crucially, he never managed to shore up Arsenal’s defence — wobbly in the final years of Wenger’s reign — and didn’t seem to know how to handle playmaker Mesut Ozil, who was repeatedly dropped.
Things unravelled earlier this month when Emery removed the captaincy from Granit Xhaka, an unpopular choice to wear the armband, after the midfielder swore at fans while being substituted during the October 27 draw against Crystal Palace. Xhaka later said he and his family had been subjected to abuse and threats on social media.
Xhaka returned to the first-team in Thursday’s defeat, a further sign that the manager had lost support of the crowd who had voiced their concern with him remaining with the team.
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