This article is part of Football FanCast’s Off the Bench series, which places in-game managerial decisions and squad selections under FFC’s microscope.
In what has now proved to be Unai Emery’s final game in charge of Arsenal, the Gunners slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday night.
The former Arsenal boss had been under enormous pressure to pick up the side’s faltering results, with reports even claiming that he had just a month to save his job. However, the Gunners have failed to arrest a win-less streak that has now lasted for seven games, and following their disastrous 2-2 draw to Southampton last weekend, the writing appeared to be on the wall heading into the clash against Frankfurt.
The north London side did off to a great start, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netting from a Gabriel Martinelli cross. But in a second-half turnaround from the visitors, Daichi Kamada struck twice to ensure Arsenal were consigned to yet another horrific result. And despite the fact the Gunners were chasing an equaliser for a majority of the second-half, Emery’s baffling substitutions certainly presented a snapshot of his huge struggles.
Off the bench
It has been no secret that Arsenal have been absolutely woeful defensively this season, already conceding 19 goals in just 13 games in the Premier League, and letting in 16.8 shots per game on average – the third-most in the entire division. And it is perhaps the reason why that even whilst they desperately needed a goal to salvage a result, Emery felt more inclined to bring on Lucas Torreira – a more natural holding midfielder – than either Nicolas Pepe or Alexandre Lacazette.
Emery was left so scarred by the side’s defensive frailties that it appeared he felt more wary of conceding more goals and suffering a humiliation, then actively searching for an equaliser. The decision was the final nail in the coffin for his Arsenal tenure because it simply showed he had lost confidence and courage in his own managerial abilities to produce results. His sacking on Friday morning felt like a welcome end to his misery.
Meanwhile, Arsenal fans have slammed Sokratis for his horror showing against Eintracht Frankfurt.
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