Unai Emery at Arsenal: It feels like the end, says Charlie Nicholas
But Scot is not convinced Mauricio Pochettino is the right man for the Arsenal job
Last Updated: 25/11/19 9:18pm
The pressure is mounting for Arsenal's under-fire manager Unai Emery and Charlie Nicholas thinks the writing is already on the wall as far as the Spaniard is concerned.
Saturday's 2-2 draw with struggling Southampton at the Emirates - secured only thanks to Alexandre Lacazette's stoppage-time strike - left Arsenal languishing down in eighth in the Premier League and eight points off Chelsea in the fourth and final Champions League berth as we near the Christmas period.
I have sympathy with him. But we all know that this is a results business and that's down to the manager. If he doesn't get results, his time will be up
With the north London club having not won any of their last six fixtures in all competitions, reports have recently surfaced claiming Emery's future at the Emirates is in question.
However, despite feeling sympathy for Emery, Nicholas also feels that the club's next league game at relegation-threatened Norwich is now a must-win fixture for the Gunners boss, while the former Arsenal forward has also not ruled out Mauricio Pochettino taking over at the Emirates in the future.
Is this the end for Emery?
"It definitely feels that way. After 21 years of Arsene Wenger, it is hard to look at a manager leaving after 18 months and think he has had enough time. But it is not so much the time frame on it, it is the lack of improvement.
"They did spend a fair amount of money. Probably in the wrong positions in my opinion. Kieran Tierney has come in and it has taken him ages to get fit, so he will need time to settle. Hector Bellerin has been out. The centre-back position has been poor. Then there's the lack of protectors in midfield.
"I have sympathy with him. But we all know that this is a results business and that's down to the manager. If he doesn't get results, his time will be up and the fans are starting to get angry now.
"When the anger comes to Arsenal, then the thoughts turn to the board. And when the board are shaking a little bit then they have a decision to make.
"Who will make the decision? It is a committee of four or five people. There are different people involved and it seems even they are confused about it. Arsenal have no leaders on the pitch and no leaders upstairs."
No excuses for an average team
"Arsenal have no excuses right now.This is an average team, but it is a pretty good attacking system within this team.
"The manager has found it complicated. He doesn't know his best XI. He doesn't know what his best defensive set-up is. He doesn't know who his protectors in midfield should be. Because of this confusion they are all over the place.
The manager has found it complicated. He doesn't know his best XI. He doesn't know what his best defensive setup is. He doesn't know who is protectors in midfield should be. Because of this confusion they are all over the place
"The price of £8m for David Luiz wasn't much and we thought he might have improved it for a relatively small amount, but he hasn't. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is now the captain, but the forwards are feeling this lack of belief too - not good signs for the manager.
"I actually think they kept him in position during the international break because they expected to beat Southampton, before having Eintracht Frankfurt at home on Thursday and then going to Norwich away next weekend. That game has now become a must-win scenario."
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Could Mauricio Pochettino go to Arsenal?
"Of course. He is a top-quality coach. We did it with Sol Campbell in the past and we know what mayhem that created. This would be even more. He improved Spurs dramatically and got them to the top four and the Champions League final.
"The question mark beside him is that he didn't win any prizes. They didn't always get results against the rest of the top six so that's a question mark too.
"Would he improve this Arsenal side? I am not so sure. I think it needs a rebuild defensively right from the centre backs.
Experienced players making Arsenal's life a misery
"Matteo Guendouzi, I like, but he is young and he is naive and he is not getting taught how to play the position properly. They are all individuals and until they get that team spirit and understanding of it, then Arsenal are constantly going to have problems.
"Mesut Ozil is now in the team and has played quite well, but a few weeks ago we were being told he would be sold in January. What is going on at Arsenal?
"This is why I make the point that while it is the manager's responsibility and the players are letting him down, the hierarchy has got to make a stand. When Wenger was asked to move aside from his position, we were told this was the new modern Arsenal.
"The young players will probably do well on Thursday, but it is the experienced players who are making Arsenal's life a misery."