Why is he in danger?
Because Arsenal are eighth in the Premier League table after more than a third of the season has passed. Because Arsenal are level on points with Burnley and Sheffield United. Because Arsenal spent over £100m on signings in the summer – spending a club-record fee on a forward – only to rarely or improperly use him and be outshot by nine goals at home to Southampton.
Because Arsenal are a bit sh*t.
When will he be sacked?
It could be soon. The Southampton draw certainly expedited his probable demise. The Sunday Times say that while the club’s hierarchy were eager to ignore the “noise” surrounding Emery, ‘their position has shifted amid mounting concern in the boardroom and anger from supporters’. Their next three league matches are against Norwich, Brighton and West Ham; ‘failures in those games will cost him his job’.
The Daily Telegraph keep it simple: ‘there is a growing feeling among the squad that he should be replaced’. A ‘source’ adds: “The problem is the coach. He still makes bad decisions and changes his tactics. There is no identity to the team and the players do not see any progress.”
The Independent corroborate that claim, suggesting that Arsenal viewed those three games and the Southampton visit as “winnable”, and they ‘would consider the situation anew’ depending on the results and performances. ‘There is still faith in the manager’s vision,’ the story continues, ‘but increasing worry over the application of it.’ The overriding belief is that it is an issue of ‘confidence’ rather than coaching.
The Daily Mail put all their eggs in one basket. They say ‘the process of identifying Emery’s long-term replacement has started,’ although they ‘are prepared’ to give him a little more time.
It is added that ‘the club are reluctant to make a change mid-season’ and will, if possible, hold off until the summer to make any call. But there is an acknowledgement that ‘patience is starting to wear thin at the Emirates with the prospect of making a change now a emerging consideration’.
Does he have any supporters in the club?
Raul Sanllehi and Edu, according to the Daily Mail, are particularly ‘keen to give the Spaniard an opportunity to improve results’, with other unnamed board members less inclined to do so. The Daily Mirror say ‘Arsenal’s determination to stick with Emery for now comes from Sanllehi’, who sees Emery as ‘his “man”‘. ‘Older board members’ are considerably less impressed.
The Daily Telegraph offer no names but do say the manger ‘still has his supporters and sympathisers in the dressing room’ – although ‘they are becoming few and far between’.
What else do we know?
That the situation, according to the Daily Telegraph, is complicating planned contract negotiations with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. Neither will entertain talks while another season outside the Champions League remains a distinct possibility.
That chairman Sir Chips Keswick, according to The Athletic, ‘felt compelled to consider handing in his resignation as chairman of the club’ over the weekend. The criticism of the board ‘is taking a heavy toll’ on someone who ‘feels unable to be a part of any decision making’.
Who could replace him?
Max Allegri ‘has his admirers’ (Daily Mail), while Mikel Arteta ‘is understood to be keen to talk to Arsenal’ (Sunday Times).
The Independent say Arsenal have not ‘drawn up a shortlist of replacements’, but that ‘alternative names are being considered’. We are not entirely sure of the difference. But said names include Allegri, Arteta, Julian Nagelsmann and Patrick Vieira. The Daily Telegraph throw Brendan Rodgers in for good measure.
The idea of an interim coaching team of Freddie Ljungberg and Steve Bould is floated. That ‘would be considered a short-term solution’ in the event of a mid-season sacking (Daily Mail), and ‘would give Arsenal until the summer to identify the permanent successor’, as well as ‘a better chance of appointing their first choice’ (Daily Telegraph).
Then you get the Daily Mail, who include Mauricio Pochettino in the headline to their story of potential Emery replacements and declare that he ‘is well liked by key members of the Arsenal board,’ but concede that the prospect of him taking over ‘seems remote’ for a number of reasons. Then there’s this.
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