Ranking Unai Emery's 5 worst games as Arsenal boss
The Spaniard was sacked by the Gunners on Friday after going seven matches without a win. We've ranked the lowest points of his 78-game tenure.
5. Arsenal 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt | 28 November 2019
The Europa League used to be Emery’s happy place.
It is no wonder, then, that Arsenal bosses viewed Thursday night’s defeat by Frankfurt as the point of no return for the Spaniard.
The Gunners, as they have done countless times under Emery, looked in control at 1-0 up but a second-half capitulation brought boos from the near-empty crowd and, a few hours later, an end to his tenure.
Talk before the game suggested Emery had until the Norwich match on Sunday to save his job, but Thursday’s performance was so bad that the club hierarchy had no choice but to sack him.
That this display came in front of a half-empty Emirates was more proof of Emery’s waning influence in north London.
It was not, in any way, a good evening for Emery.
4. Watford 2-2 Arsenal | 15 September 2019
A word that has haunted Arsenal fans since October 2017, when Troy Deeney accused their side of lacking balls after Watford came from a goal down to win at Vicarage Road.
Arsene Wenger was in charge then, with his powers in decline and the end of his 22 years in charge of the club approaching.
The appointment of Emery as his successor brought hope of change, but you only need to look at their draw with the Hornets in September of this year to see that it never came.
Cruising at 2-0 up, against a side bottom of the Premier League with one point from four games, Arsenal somehow contrived to concede 31 shots and, inevitably, their lead.
It was, crucially, a failure to play out from the back that triggered their downfall, with such mistakes being a constant theme throughout Emery’s time at the club.
Arsenal fans will be hoping Emery’s successor can restore some much-needed “cojones” at the Emirates, and maybe teach them how to build from the back while they’re at it.
3. Arsenal 2-3 Crystal Palace | 21 April 2019
This was the day Arsenal’s top-four ambitions were killed, after one of the worst defensive performances you are likely to ever see from a professional footballer.
I’m looking at you, Shkodran Mustafi, who gifted Crystal Palace all three goals with three mistakes.
Mustafi twice failed to stick to the player he was marking at set pieces and also allowed Wilfried Zaha a clean run at goal after trying to shepherd a ball back to Bernd Leno.
The nadir of Mustafi’s Arsenal career, it should also be seen as one of the lowest points for Emery at Arsenal, too.
Such were the basic failings that led to each goal, it made you question how effective his coaching methods actually were.
That this performance came on a weekend when top-four rivals Manchester United and Tottenham had lost made it even more painful for Arsenal fans.
Instead, they dropped out of the Champions League places the following Monday, overtaken by Chelsea, and wouldn’t return for the rest of the season.
Surely it couldn’t get any worse.
2. Wolves 3-1 Arsenal | 24 April 2019
But three days later, this happened.
If fans thought the Crystal Palace performance was just a blip, what followed was a reality check.
Arsenal arrived at Molineux knowing a victory would put them back into top four with three games remaining.
Yet the 45 minutes that followed revealed Emery’s inability to motivate his players.
Arsenal went in 3-0 down at half-time after strolling through a first half punctuated by even more defensive mistakes.
There was slight improvement in the second half, with a late Sokratis goal making the scoreline slightly less embarrassing.
But make no mistake, Emery’s side had been dominated after turning out a truly apathetic performance.
You would hope that whoever replaces him is able to coax a response out of his players when it matters.
1. Chelsea 4-1 Arsenal | 29 May 2019
We end this list where we started, in Emery’s supposed happy place.
Though, again, it turned out to be anything but.
That Arsenal even made it to the Europa League final in the first place will have gone some way to softening the frustration at their feeble end to the domestic season.
It was, after all, their first European final in 13 years and a perfect opportunity to show the progress the club had made since Wenger’s departure.
But a 4-1 thumping from Chelsea and complete non-performance from the Gunners proved nothing of the sort.
Played amid the sub-plot of UEFA’s decision to hold the Europa League final in Baku, the few Arsenal fans who made the 5,000-mile round trip will have wished they hadn’t bothered.
When it mattered most, Arsenal capitulated. Again.
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