‘It feels like the end for Emery at Arsenal’ – Gunners great Nicholas concerned by ‘lack of improvement’
Calls for change at Emirates Stadium continue to build, with a former frontman of the opinion that a new manager needs to be appointed in north London Arsenal legend Charlie Nicholas admits it feels like the end of the road for Unai Emery at Emirates Stadium, with “the lack of improvement” seen under a Spanish coach edging him towards the exits.
Calls for change are building in north London amid further struggles for consistency in 2019-20.
Emery is considered to have overseen little change since succeeding the legendary Arsene Wenger in a prominent post during the summer of 2018. Editors’ Picks Seven goals in nine games: Chelsea flop Morata is flying again Guardiola’s staying but Man City fans shouldn’t expect him to sign a new contract From Madrid’s new hero to out in the cold – what has happened to Vinicius? Solskjaer’s clueless set-up costs Man Utd – Tactical lessons from the Premier League weekend
Questions are being asked of his future as a result, with a scrappy 2-2 draw with struggling Southampton last time out doing little to ease the pressure which is being piled on his shoulders.
Quizzed by Sky Sports on whether the end is nigh for Emery, Nicholas said: “It definitely feels that way. After 21 years of Arsene Wenger, it is hard to look at a manager leaving after 18 months and think he has had enough time. But it is not so much the time frame on it, it is the lack of improvement.
“They did spend a fair amount of money. Probably in the wrong positions in my opinion. Kieran Tierney has come in and it has taken him ages to get fit, so he will need time to settle. Hector Bellerin has been out. The centre-back position has been poor. Then there’s the lack of protectors in midfield.
“I have sympathy with him. But we all know that this is a results business and that’s down to the manager. If he doesn’t get results, his time will be up and the fans are starting to get angry now.
“When the anger comes to Arsenal, then the thoughts turn to the board. And when the board are shaking a little bit then they have a decision to make.
“Who will make the decision? It is a committee of four or five people. There are different people involved and it seems even they are confused about it. Arsenal have no leaders on the pitch and no leaders upstairs.”
Nicholas added on the problems which the Gunners have failed to address: “Arsenal have no excuses right now. This is an average team, but it is a pretty good attacking system within this team.
“The manager has found it complicated. He doesn’t know his best XI. He doesn’t know what his best defensive set-up is. He doesn’t know who his protectors in midfield should be. Because of this confusion they are all over the place.
“The price of £8m for David Luiz wasn’t much and we thought he might have improved it for a relatively small amount, but he hasn’t. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is now the captain, but the forwards are feeling this lack of belief too – not good signs for the manager.Article continues below
“I actually think they kept him in position during the international break because they expected to beat Southampton, before having Eintracht Frankfurt at home on Thursday and then going to Norwich away next weekend. That game has now become a must-win scenario.”
Arsenal have slipped to eighth in the Premier League table, eight points adrift of the top four after just 13 games.
Various candidates are being mooted as possible successors to Emery at the Emirates, with it even suggested that former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino could come into the reckoning.