Unai Emery deserves second season at Arsenal
Arsenal’s 2018/19 campaign came to a screeching halt on Wednesday, as they were firmly beaten 4-1 by Chelsea in the Europa League final. The loss means that the Gunners will spend their third consecutive season in the second-tiered European competition. Following the disappointing display in Baku, many Arsenal fans took to Twitter to debate whether or not head coach Unai Emery should keep his job with the north London club.
While finishing the season without silverware and missing out on the lucrative top four is certainly unsatisfying, there has been a slight improvement under Emery compared to the 2017/18 season. In the Spaniard’s freshman Premier League campaign with the club, the Gunners accumulated more wins and points, while finishing 11 points closer to fourth place compared to the previous season.
Arsenal also saw an improvement when taking a look at all competitions. Not only did they manage to advance further in the Europa League, but they also had a higher win percentage and averaged slightly more goals per game over the course of the season. In fact, Emery currently holds the record for highest win rate of any head coach/manager in the club’s illustrious history (more than 50 matches coached).
Emery also appears to have the support of his players. During a time in which friction between players and coaches appear to be widely reported, the Arsenal players have spoken highly of their head coach. Speaking to reporters ahead of the Europa League final, Sokratis
Papastathopoulos was full of praise of the former PSG coach. “[Emery is] the best coach I had in my career,” proclaimed the defender. “That’s because I have improved a lot under him. I play faster than one, two or three years ago.” Sokratis previously played under Jurgen Klopp while at Borussia Dortmund.
Alexandre Lacazette, the team’s Player of the Year, has also stated positive views on his head coach as well. “I play more with Unai and have more confidence with him,” the Frenchman told Evening Standard. “Even if I can just say ‘thank you’ to Wenger because he brought me into this big club, but I feel better with Unai.”
Ultimately, the Arsenal brass will determine whether or not Emery will be given another season as head coach. However, managing director Vinai Venkatesham and head of football Raul Sanllehi both sung Emery’s praises during an interview on the club’s official YouTube channel prior to Wednesday’s match. With one year remaining on Emery’s current contract, it appears that Venkatesham/Sanllehi will give him another shot at improving this team even further next season.