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Arsenal announced early Friday morning that manager Unai Emery would be removed from his position as Arsenal’s boss. The sacking follows a seven-match winless stretch for the Gunners that has seen Arsenal lose significant ground in the top-four race. This is the first time that Arsenal has let a manager go midseason in the Premier League era and it could lead to some madness in the coming months.
Now Arsenal will be looking for a manager who can help them move forward for the long term, just like Arsene Wenger. This would normally be quite hard but there is a rare occurrence in the world of football management right now. Mauricio Pochettino was recently let go from Tottenham, and the young manager is likely the perfect candidate for the Gunners. The big question will be is there mutual interest between the two parties. This would be a move that we’ve never seen before, a rival manager moving to their rival immediately after being sacked by their biggest rival. Poch would be in a very good position with the young squad that has been investing in their youth development recently. Poch would likely walk into the same position that he did at Spurs and would have more financial backing than he did previously at Spurs. If Poch doesn’t want to work for a former rival the next candidate is Mikel Arteta. Arteta is a former Gunner who has been the assistant at Manchester City in recent years under arguably the best manager in the world, Pep Guardiola. Guardiola has already said that he doesn’t want Arteta to move on but it’s unlikely that he will stay following this season. Arsenal would be ecstatic to bring the young manager on. Other contenders are Massimiliano Allegri, Carlo Ancelotti, and Interim Manager Freddie Ljungberg.
Unfortunately for Arsenal fans, this situation will likely change nothing with Ozil. The German midfielder has had a long-running conflict with the former manager that led to his benching. Ozil was also a problem under Wenger, often walking on the pitch during games. If the new manager can fix relations with Ozil, it will likely mean that Arsenals front three of Ozil, Lacazzette, and Aubameyang will be one of the top attacking trios in Europe. However, this is unlikely as Ozil has shown a clear disconnect with the fans and club as a whole.
Pepe was the clubs record signing over the summer and will likely have even more pressure to perform under new management. Pepe’s struggles seem to come from the new system that Arsenal have him playing in, and with Emery, that system changed every other week. Pepe was a poor signing with Arsenal’s current set up, especially as he plays on the attacking end which has been a spot that Arsenal hasn’t had to worry about recently. New management will likely struggle with Pepe just as Emery did.
Ultimately Arsenal will need to get their next appointment right if they hope to return to Europe’s elite clubs. The club is a long way from its glory days, but they do have a young group of players that could propel them back to the top under the right management. The key is that management can’t look to win the Champions League in one year, but they have to look to better the club in the long term, especially if Stan Kroenke doesn’t want to invest Manchester City levels of money. Arsenal has their future laid out for them, they just need to pick the right management.