In Depth

Arsenal in turmoil: Unai Emery on the brink as fans hit out at owner Stan Kroenke

Arteta and Allegri are the favourites to replace Emery at the Mayhemirates

As they once said, it will be over by Christmas, and the only question that remains is who will replace Unai Emery when the Arsenal board finally find the boldness to put their manager out of his misery?

At any other major Premier League club that had last won a league match in October, Emery would have already been shown the door, but the Gunners, as they showed with Arsene Wenger, are prone to dither and delay when it comes to implementing overdue regime change.

However, the boos that shook the Emirates to its core on Saturday after the shambolic Gunners stole a point from Southampton in the sixth minute of injury-time has apparently convinced the board that the Emery show can no longer go on.

Arteta and Allegri on shortlist

According to The Times Arsenal are “interested in talking to Mikel Arteta and Massimiliano Allegri” with the paper saying that the sands of time are running down on Emery’s stint at the “Mayhemirates”. 

Former Gunners midfielder Arteta, currently Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City, is said to be “keen to talk to Arsenal” and discussions could begin as early as this week. 

As for ex-Juventus boss Allegri, the Gunners were linked with him last year but there are doubts as to his grasp of English. 

The Times says the Italian has been “working on improving his English in recent months”, but given that Emery’s lack of the lingo has been a significant problem in his attempt to stamp his mark on his squad, Arsenal want to be sure they won’t hire another manager who struggles to communicate his ideas to his players.

Way off the pace

The Daily Mail claims that the Gunners’s head of football Raul Sanllehi and sporting director Edu believe Emery should be given more time but the board are “unconvinced” after watching the Saints dominate in the 2-2 draw on Saturday. 

The paper agrees with the Times that Arteta and Allegri are the two names in the frame and says that Mauricio Pochettino’s “close association with Spurs appears to rule him out”.

Now eighth in the table and eight points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, Arsenal are in the worst run of results this century. With a brutal Christmas looming, including fixtures against Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs, Arsenal could be in the bottom half of the table by the new year if their current form continues.

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Auba: players need to work hard 

Emery’s future looks bleak but club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says it’s “down to the players” to revive Arsenal, Metro reports. 

Aubameyang said: “The team is disappointed like the fans are as well. When we are playing, we are the first to be disappointed when it doesn’t work. We will try to keep fighting. I think we have the quality to come back and we have to fight. 

“We knew that it wasn’t going to be easy because we know that when they [Southampton] play away, they feel comfortable on the ball and they are strong. We expected them to play like this. We are really disappointed.

“I think everybody has to try to ask themselves that, and what they can change, what they can give more of. Everybody has to do this, me first. I will try to work hard and to get back to winning ways.”

Fans hit out at owner Kroenke

Sky Sports reports that an Arsenal fans group has issued a statement accusing Stan Kroenke of “rudderless” leadership. 

The Arsenal Supporters Alliance launched a #WeCareDoYou protest in July and following the draw with Southampton a new statement was issued criticising the club’s owner. 

The fan statement said: “We have been told to ‘get excited’ and to support the team. As Arsenal supporters we have done both. 

“There exist many issues raised in our first statement that remain unaddressed by the club. While these matters have not gone away, it is the overall alarming and desperate state of things on and off the pitch that need urgent action and take precedence amongst our concerns.

“Until the club and especially the senior management structure is running efficiently, effectively and ambitiously, then few other issues can or will be satisfactorily resolved. 

“The early optimism of summer, around what appeared to be good business and positive signings, has given way to renewed concerns about the club’s overall direction and the leadership of the owner. It feels like the club is rudderless and floating aimlessly, unsure of its destination.”

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