Time running out for Emery to prove he can kickstart Arsenal

191

LONDON, Nov 22, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Arsenal manager Unai Emery was given a
reminder of how cut throat Premier League management can be with Tottenham’s
sacking of Mauricio Pochettino this week and needs a quick turnaround in
fortunes if he is to avoid the same fate.

Emery’s side face Southampton at the Emirates on Saturday with the
Spaniard’s position coming under increasing scrutiny after a dismal run that
has brought just two wins in the last ten Premier League games.

“For me it was a surprise,” said Emery on Pochettino’s departure. “I think
Tottenham were doing very good work with Pochettino.

“Maybe the last result, the last matches they didn’t play or didn’t achieve
good results, but I think overall that their way in the last years with
Pochettino was perfect.”

Emery has far less credit in the bank with the Arsenal fans than the
Argentine did across north London and the natives at the Emirates are growing
increasingly restless at not just a lack of results, but lack of
entertainment.

Many anticipated a lack of cover at centre-back could cause Emery problems
in his second season at Arsenal, but failings at the back are now being
mirrored at the other end of the pitch.

A forward-line built around star strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and
Alexandre Lacazette and supported by o72 million record signing Nicolas Pepe,
Mesut Ozil and on-loan Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos was expected to
be the side’s major strength.

But Emery’s men have managed just five goals in their last six league games
to fall nine points off the top four.

Aubameyang has shown his class to score eight league goals despite largely
living off scraps, but Lacazette and centre back David Luiz are the only
other Arsenal players to have scored more than once in the Premier League
this season.

Lacazette has not scored in six games since returning from an ankle injury,
but Pepe’s inability to make an impact is even more alarming.

The Ivorian has been benched for the last two games after scoring just once
in the league from the penalty spot.

And the feeling that Emery is struggling to find a solution was underlined
his decision to recall Ozil for the 1-1 draw at home to Wolves and 2-0 defeat
Leicester having frozen the German out for the vast majority of his time in
charge.

The visit of a struggling Southampton side who lie second bottom should
provide Arsenal with the perfect opportunity to kickstart their season, but
anything but a convincing win and the pressure on Emery is likely to only
intensify.

“I am optimistic. I know we need better performances with the team,
individually and collectively,” added Emery. “We need to play better and
control the game better in 90 minutes.”