A Spanish coach at Emirates Stadium finds himself falling under mounting pressure, with John Hartson seeing no way back for the beleaguered boss
Unai Emery has been branded “delusional” by former Arsenal striker John Hartson, with the Spaniard left on the brink following another disappointing display from the Gunners.
An under-fire coach had the chance to ease some of the pressure that has been building on his shoulders during a Europa League outing against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Arsenal were, however, to put in another forgettable performance in front of a sparse crowd at Emirates Stadium.
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Emery suggested on the back of a 2-1 defeat that his team looked “better”, but such claims have been laughed off by critics who consider it to be only a matter of time before a change in the dugout is made.
Hartson told BT Sport: “That interview to me sounded a bit delusional.
“It sounded as if he’s hiding from the reality of his team, they are just not quite good enough, the players are not performing to the levels that they should be.
“I also think, yes we criticised the fact at 2-1 down they didn’t bring [Alexandre] Lacazette or [Nicolas] Pepe on, because you know what, if they had done while they’re chasing the goal, he’s probably worried that Frankfurt break away and make it embarrassing.
“They were getting through Arsenal defensively, so he was probably worried more about strength and shoring up defensively rather than going and getting an equaliser.
“The proof is there, the players were on the bench with scarves around their face, freezing cold, wanting to come on.”
Hartson added on the problems facing Emery: “There was no urgency in the Arsenal performance, very lacklustre, it looked like they had no direction from the manager in terms of how they were going to play.
“They were a goal down, they bring on [Lucas] Torreira – a defensive midfielder – when you’ve got Pepe and Lacazette on the bench.
“I want to see [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang play down the middle. You’re 2-1 down, he’s staying on the right-hand side when he’s a centre-forward and the one who’s going to get you a goal.
“All in all, very disappointing and on the back of that performance, Unai Emery… They’ve got be starting to ask serious questions of his job now. They really have.”
The general consensus is that Emery will be relieved of his duties in north London, with it possible that decisive action could be taken before Arsenal return to Premier League action on Sunday at Norwich.
“I think it is almost imminent,” Hartson said of the sack talk.
“The interesting thing for me is, do they earmark a manager and give [Emery] a bit of time in charge, while they look and speak to other mangers and try and get somebody in?
“Or do they go interim? To a [Freddie] Ljungberg or Steve Bould, who is still at the club, while they search for a new boss.
“There are still a couple out there.
“You are almost thinking now, is Emery the right man to make the players better, make the team better? And I am not sure he is.”