In Brief

Unai Emery endgame as Arsenal eye Jose Mourinho

After two EPL wins in nine, unrest is growing at the Emirates and manager could pay the price

As Arsenal slip further away from the top four, there are reports that the board are ready to dump Unai Emery for Jose Mourino.

Saturday’s lame 1-1 draw with Wolves leaves the Gunners with just two Premier League victories in their last nine outings, and they currently lie 14 points behind leaders Liverpool and six shy of fourth place Chelsea. With a brutal fixture schedule looming, including away trips to Leicester, Bournemouth and Man City and home clashes against Chelsea and Man Utd in the space of four days, there are fears that Arsenal could start the new year in the bottom half of the table.

That’s the reason, claims the Sunday Times, why the Gunners “are considering turning to Jose Mourinho”. The paper says that Mourinho, who has been out of work since leaving Man United last December, dined last week with Arsenal’s head of football, Raul Sanllehi, and “impressed” him with his “plans for the squad”.

Losing in translation

The ST alleges that Emery is losing the faith of the Arsenal board because of “fractures that have formed between the Spaniard and senior members of his playing staff”. In part these divisions have been caused by what the Daily Mirror describes as Emery’s inability to “communicate effectively” because of his shaky grasp of English. Metro, however, claims that it is his “conservative tactical approach” that has become the overriding issue with a growing number of players harbouring doubts about his suitability for the job.

Consequently, time is running out for the former PSG coach and his fate may hinge on the outcome of Arsenal’s next two games, both away, against Vitoria Guimaraes in the Europa League on Thursday and Leicester on Saturday. Lose, and Emery could be ditched in the two week international break that starts next weekend.

Mourinho’s man management

The Sunday Times says that Mourinho - who still has a family home in London - is attractive in the eyes of the Arsenal board because of his good relationship with Mesut Ozil. The two worked together at Real Madrid and the Gunners’ hierarchy think Mourinho will get the best out of the mercurial German playmaker. They also see the Special One as a manager “unencumbered by the language problems” that have hindered Emery during his 15 months at the Emirates. As the ST points out, Mourinho has made no secret of his desire to get back into coaching, and he said recently that his next job will be a “fight to win.”

Under pressure

Emery is clearly feeling the pressure, and the boos that rang out at the end of Saturday’s draw with Wolves was further evidence of the fans’ growing discontent. “I am very demanding of myself,” he said, when asked if he thought his job was on the line. “I am frustrated with the result.”

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