Should Unai Emery stay or go? Charlie Nicholas gives his Arsenal verdict

Nicholas: "He is asking for time, but will he get the 18 months that takes him to the end of next season? If things don't turn around quickly, it may go down the line of Emery losing his job."

Unai Emery is continuing to struggle at Arsenal
Image: Unai Emery is continuing to struggle at Arsenal

Should Unai Emery stay as Arsenal head coach or is his time up at the Emirates Stadium? Former Arsenal striker Charlie Nicholas gives his verdict to Sky Sports...

Things have not got better at Arsenal

The blame should not be solely on Unai Emery at Arsenal.

Has Emery made it better at Arsenal since Arsene Wenger's departure? No. Things have definitely got worse, but Emery shouldn't get all the blame. Other mistakes have been made along the way.

The defending is one thing that has certainly got worse and the money they spent in the summer has not improved them at all. Nicolas Pepe is struggling to get in a team which paid £72m - a club record - to sign him. Dani Ceballos started the season well. He is a talented player, but does his talent fits into this system?

Unai Emery looks on from the bench during Vitoria Guimaraes vs Arsenal 0:51
Arsenal fans react to the Premier League defeat against Leicester which saw Unai Emery's side fall eight points adrift of the Champions League places.

The guys in front are expected to be better but the attacking side of things has lost its way. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette don't know what they are trying to do or what the style is. They want to get on the ball and make things happen, but they do not have any runners since Aaron Ramsey left the club to join Juventus.

The youngsters are fighting for competition - Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson have come in and done well in spells, but they are not yet ready to take it to the next stage.

Arsenal have lost their style

Arsenal have lost their identity and the finger can be pointed at Emery for that.

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Arsenal cannot get the balance with the defence and two midfield players. It tells you everything about the side and the confidence at the club at the moment with the back three and a four in front that they went with at Leicester. Where did that come from?

Emery 4:50
Arsenal lack direction and are sliding but Unai Emery isn't in danger of the immediate sack, say the Sunday Supplement panel.

I guarantee they would have only had one day to work on it. They played on Wednesday and then needed to get themselves sorted for Saturday. Some had travelled on the Wednesday, so the whole thing implies they have lost their style.

We knew Emery's style at Valencia and Sevilla - they were tough and scrappy in midfield and all the about pace and movement up front. This front lot have more ability and reputation than he has ever worked with before, but his team do not have the strength and capabilities at the back - the attack is bogged down. Aubameyang and Lacazette have a lack of movement and are struggling to combine with each other.

Emery needs to turn things around quickly

Image: Arsenal now sit eight points off the top four with Emery's remit to take the club back to the Champions League now looking further away than ever since his appointment last May.

What is Arsenal's style? It's a complete disaster of a style and formation. He does not know his best starting line-up or his best formation. This is why he's under the pressure he is under, but I don't think he will get sacked.

He is asking for time, but will he get the 18 months that takes him to the end of next season? There are plenty of Arsenal fans wanting Emery to go now, but reports suggest the club's hierarchy are going to stick with the Spaniard for the time being. However, if things don't turn around quickly, it may go down the line of Emery losing his job.

Come January when the transfer window opens, the Arsenal board will say they have no money, but they need money for defenders. It's either that, or you need to get rid of the dead wood. They got rid of plenty in the summer but in my opinion there's more to go.

Unai Emery insists his young side need time and has called for patience from the fans following their defeat to Leicester.

Calum Chambers has been in and out of the club in recent season, but now he is a regular full-back, and that is wrong - completely and utterly wrong. Rob Holding looks terrified bow when he gets the ball, David Luiz looks comfortable with ball but uncomfortable without it and yet we still insist on playing out from the back.

I like Mateo Guendouzi but he is having an absolute shocker. He hasn't earned the right to get in the team and if that means that some of these youngsters come on and play well, then they stay in the team, which is what competitive edge means.

Emery needs to be positive

I am confused with where this is going, and that is created by Emery's own choices. If he doesn't sort it out before Christmas, he does come under scrutiny. The top four was there for the taking, but Man Utd were struggling, Leicester and Chelsea are doing better than anticipated, but you want to be in there fighting. Arsenal are hopeless yet are still in sixth, but you have to stay at it and give yourself a chance to fight for those places.

Emery must go positive to win football matches after international break. If this doesn't work, he may be out by January - he is hanging on. The board will not look to ease him out, but a lot of people are wondering why they should wait.

Unai Emery's Arsenal record is worse than predecessor Arsene Wenger's.
Image: Two wins from 10 in the Premier League has seen the pressure mount on Emery's position with "Emery Out" once again trending on Twitter in the immediate aftermath of the defeat at Leicester

Will they give Emery more money? Is he in charge of transfers? Probably not, no. Will they get defenders, and then will they be good enough?

It is disappointing and sad to see how badly the club have fallen away. Arsenal fans are saying that Arsene Wenger created some of this, and yes, he did. He left behind a soft team with no aggression and leadership.

Bring back Wenger… as technical director!

Arsene Wenger has been out of work since leaving Arsenal in 2018.
Image: Arsene Wenger has been out of work since leaving Arsenal in 2018.

I suggested on Soccer Saturday that if you want to overlord the process, I would go in for Wenger and get him on the board or get him in as the technical director. Why let him talk to Bayern Munich and float about on TV when you can have that brain, fabric and understanding at the club right. He could work with an experienced manager to get it right. He can also improve the decision making. Why did Arsenal miss out on Gary Cahill, for example?

Wenger couldn't sort his own problems, but he could help Emery in certain ways. I was always teased about the hierarchy not being right, but we have around four guys arguing over transfers. Is Edu the one who says these are the players Arsenal are getting? Is he in strong communication with Emery?

'It's not all Emery's fault'

Tony Adams believes it's up to the players to improve their mentality and performances on the pitch and there is only so much Unai Emery can do as head coach.

Not everything is Emery's fault but following the recent performances on the and the Granit Xhaka incident, the head coach will receive all backlash. He will take all the flak, but the players should be doing better.

But then you can go back to the questions of what is the team and what is the style? That is where the problems lie right now. It's all a bit of a mess.

I said that at the time that the Pepe was a risky move for that amount of money. Pepe has got great potential but is not the one I think we needed to jump on. I like to play from the front, but the back needed sorting.

Nicolas Pepe with Edu after signing for Arsenal in the summer of 2019
Image: Nicolas Pepe with technical director Edu after signing for Arsenal in the summer of 2019

They spent £72m on a potential talent going forward, when we have the likes of Saka, Nelson and Martinelli to potentially play these roles, it was strange to me.

I don't understand how they spent over £100m, let a defender go and brought in a winger. Have you not seen where the problems have been for the past five years? They couldn't wait to get Laurent Koscielny out, Sokratis Papastathopoulos is adding nothing to Arsenal and Shkodran Mustafi is finished at Arsenal. Petr Cech also moved on, so they needed to rebuild the defence. Did they do it?

Jamie Carragher was shocked by Arsenal's defensive record away from home and feels they haven't developed since Arsene Wenger left the club.

Kieran Tierney came in for £25m but he's needed time to get fit. He will be decent once fully fit, but Arsenal should be planning to sort their defensive problems out now, and they haven't done it.

The manager shouldn't take all of the blame, but he should burden most of it. I don't know how they have worked out on spending £72m on a winger when that is not the essence of what the team required. It has been a problem for years and until it is resolved things will not improve.

POLL: Should Emery stay or go?

Arsenal fans, you've heard Nicholas' verdict. Now's the chance for you to have YOUR say!

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