Arsenal continued their slide down the Premier League table thanks to a 2-2 draw to Southampton at the weekend. While the Saints were helped by questionable calls for both of their goals, the Gunners were outplayed at home on the day. The disappointing result meant that the north London outfit dropped to eighth in the league standings.
With no wins in their last five league games, Arsenal’s top four hopes are in serious doubt. Head coach Unai Emery retained his position with the club over the summer after narrowly missing out on a Champions League place by one point during the 2018/19 campaign. Although the Spaniard initially showed promise with his new role, the Gunners have sputtered over the last couple of months in league play.
Poor performances, questionable tactics, and most importantly, bad results have made most Arsenal fans yearn for another change at the helm. Despite these wishes, the club’s brass of Raul Sanllehi, Edu Gaspar, Vinai Venkatesham, and Josh Kroenke have been reluctant to make the switch at head coach.
Many of the aforementioned disappointed fans assumed that the club would officially make the move to sack Emery following the 2-0 defeat to Leicester City on November 9th. The timing would have made perfect sense. The Gunners, as all other Premier League clubs, were set for a two-week break from matches due to international competitions being held in the middle of the month. Sanllehi and company, however, decided to stick with Emery.
“We are as disappointed as everyone else with both our results and performances at this stage of the season,” Sanllehi and Venkatesham claimed in an open meeting. “Things need to improve to meet our objectives for the season, and we firmly believe Unai is the right man for the job, together with the backroom team we have in place.”
The vote of confidence in the coach was certainly surprising. While Arsenal missed the perfect opportunity to make a change, their crosstown rivals did not. Tottenham Hotspur used the free time to sack Mauricio Pochettino and appoint Jose Mourinho as their new manager.
Along with Spurs, Everton and Manchester United are in similar situations as the Gunners. Both Marco Silva (Everton) and Ole Gunnar Solskjær (United) are also currently under fire and could soon be out of jobs. Though normally Everton wouldn’t necessarily directly compete with Arsenal for a new head coach, Mikel Arteta is certainly a candidate for either job.
Arteta, formally a player with both Arsenal and Everton, is currently a highly-rated assistant coach under Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City team. If Everton make a quick move to replace Silva with Arteta, the Gunners could miss out on an opportunity to snag the Spaniard away from the defending Premier League champions. Likewise with Manchester United, the Red Devils could also take a potential coaching candidate off of the table while Arsenal stick by Emery.
The Gunners have an extremely talented squad. This group of players should be finishing inside the top four. Nevertheless, it seems as if they need a new leader on the sidelines to help them reach their goal. Arsenal fans will hope that the club makes a decision regarding the head coach position before they fall too far down the table and the good candidates are already taken.