The Unai Emery Situation at Arsenal is rather reminiscent of Stephen King’s ‘Green Mile’ as the inmate announces, ‘Walking the mile, walking the mile. Dead man walking, walking the Green mile.’
For those that haven’t seen the classic film, it refers to the walk which follows a green line from the individuals cell to the electric chair. The fate of Unai Emery at Arsenal is not quite as final but the atmosphere at Arsenal suggests that his departure is more a case of when rather than if.
The media is of course searching for its first departure of the season and things have been a bit disappointing from their perspective. Steve Bruce is still at Newcastle, Ole Gunner Solskjær is hanging in there and Frank Lampard has surprised everybody.
In regards of the top six, there are no obvious movers. Pochettino (Spurs) is waiting for Zidane to depart, Klopp (Liverpool) will move when he chooses and Guardiola is still the main man in the City of Manchester.
The most vulnerable manager/coach apart from Solskjær is Emery and with each loss the bookmakers are closer to paying out for his dismissal.
It’s not just matters on the pitch that are making the headlines anymore. The noises of unrest in the dressing room are becoming louder. The last week has seen various players linked with liking posts on the Spanish coaches likely exit on social media and those inside and outside the club are starting to express their concerns over his player management.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan said of Emery,
“He paid more attention to tactics, so my role changed. I was starting as a winger, but had to build play with the defensive midfielder. It’s why I couldn’t contribute as many goals or assists. I like to play more freely and move wherever there’s space, but you have to do the job that the manager asks.”
“I couldn’t accept that I had to sit on the bench for some matches. I know my qualities and what I can do. I’m 30 years old now and I like to play football, not just sit on the bench and waste my time.”
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Football operations and communications consultant Ian McGarry, revealed that agents of players have been in contact with the club regarding their clients position on the transfer window podcast,
“The Transfer Window has discovered that at least two agents who represent multiple clients at the Emirates club have been in contact with executives there in the last seven-10 days to discuss Unai Emery’s management style. Things on the agenda that were made a point of were communication skills, which we know have been difficult for Emery regarding the way that he gets across the way he wants to play to his players.”
“There’s more subtle and finer things which are getting a lot of attention in the dressing room and that is tactics, the way that tactics are explained, whether it’s one on one or whether it’s a game plan ahead of any fixture. There’s also some dissent about Emery being aloof and distant in the dressing room. The phrase ‘quick to criticise but slow to praise’ was also mentioned with regards to the way he treats players. Not a happy dressing room as I think we all know with regards to Arsenal at the moment.”
This also comes at a time when Granit Xhaka has made himself unavailable. Mesut Ozil continues to be at loggerheads with his coach and Lucas Torreira has expressed his unhappiness with his new advanced role which Emery forces him to play at.
It’s now about results and failure at Southampton will only increase the likelihood of the season’s first high profile sacking. Emery not only needs to find a winning formula but he needs to build bridges with his players. That now feels incredibly remote.