Five key moments that led to Emery’s Arsenal sacking
PUBLISHED: 11:10 29 November 2019
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Arsenal have sacked boss Unai Emery after 18 months in charge at the Emirates. Islington Gazette Arsenal reporter Dan Mountney takes a look at five key moments that led to end of his reign.
Aaron Ramsey's departure
When it was announced that midfielder Ramsey would be leaving the club on a free at the end of last season, many Arsenal fans were left stunned.
The Welshman was the club's longest serving player having joined from Cardiff in 2008 and has scored two FA Cup final winners in 2014 and 2017.
But, with his contract running down and Ramsey seemingly not key to Emery's plans, the decision was made to withdraw a contract offer and let him leave for nothing.
It was a decision that the Spaniard would regret as Ramsey - who has since joined Juventus - put in a number of stellar performances in the second half of last season before limping out of a Europa League quarter-final tie with Napoli, ending his career in north London.
Emery's men have missed the midfielder's experience, drive and attacking threat since his departure, and he may well have been able to help turn around the Gunners' form this season and save Emery's job.
Arsenal 2-3 Crystal Palace and an end to top four hopes
With a seemingly winnable run of games and Arsenal sitting in pole position to finish in the top four, Champions League football looked to be coming back to the Emirates.
But, with the Europa League final on the horizon Emery took his eye off the ball, naming a weakened side for the visit of Crystal Palace.
It backfired and Palace picked up a 3-2 win, with Wilfried Zaha running riot and defensive errors costing the Gunners.
Despite this, Arsenal still had games against Wolves, Leicester and Brighton to salvage their top four chase. They failed to win any of them, finishing fifth in the Premier League.
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The Europa League final: Arsenal 1-4 Chelsea and the final nail in the Champions League coffin
Despite missing out on the Champions League through the Premier League, Arsenal still had a chance of making Europe's elite competition and ending the season with a trophy, but they had to best Chelsea in the Europa League final.
The showpiece in Baku turned out to be a disaster though as they lost 4-1 in a shocking display against their London rivals.
On top of losing the final and missing out on Champions League football, the game was the first clear signs of Emery's fear of defeat and tactical ineptitude as he decided to name five defenders in the starting XI.
Watford 2-2 Arsenal: A sign of things to come
After a fairly positive start to the 2019/20 Premier League season, Arsenal went to winless Watford for what looked to be a comfortable three points.
Things seemed to be going to plan at half-time, with a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang double putting them 2-0 ahead.
But it all unravelled in a second-half that would be a sign of things to come for the Gunners.
Tom Cleverley got the Hornets back into the game as he scored after Sokratis gave the ball away in his own box, before David Luiz conceded a clumsy penalty and Roberto Pereyra equalised.
Arsenal also allowed the hosts 31 shots, with defensive frailties and an inability to play out from highlighting major issues that would become all to prevalent in the final games of Emery's reign.
Arsenal 1-2 Frankfurt: The end of the road
With pressure mounting after six games without a win, Arsenal's Europa League clash with Eintracht Frankfurt was a must-win for Emery.
Aubameyang got them off to a good start, but a second-half double from Daichi Kamada saw the Gunners lose again.
Booing and a half-empty Emirates showed the clear and growing frustration with Emery's management, tactics and style, and so the club made the decision to sack him, ending his 18-month reign.
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