Arsenal face the prospect of getting relegated if they don’t sack Unai Emery, according to club legend Martin Keown.
The Gunners are now on their worst run since 1992 after a 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday night saw their search for a win stretch to seven games.
It was also the first time the north London side had lost at home this season, having led at the interval through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s strike.
However, the visitors controlled proceedings in the second half with a quick-fire double from Daichi Kamada condemning the Gunners to a first Europa League defeat in this season’s competition.
A chorus of boos rang around a barely half-empty Emirates upon the full-time whistle, but a defiant Emery maintained after the game that his side had shown signs of improvements.
“I think we deserved more,” he said. “We controlled the game in the first half, we scored one goal.
“In the second half we started the same, we needed to score a goal but we lost the control of the game after 15 minutes and they scored two goals.
“I think we improved in the first half and we improved also some things to make sure of our improvement and take the three points.”
That was not a view supported by Keown though, who gave a scathing assessment of Emery and his team on BT Sport – insisting ‘decisions have to be made’ by club hierarchy sooner rather than later.
“Emery has taken the team as far as he can,” he said. “We just witnessed an absolute shambles of a performance in that second half.
“The team selection, the team motivation, the substitutions, the performance – everything was missing here. It was a dreadful performance.
“This is relegation form. Do the club realise how tricky this will now be? Decisions have to be made.
“There are football people at the top of the club that need to make the decisions that need to be made because otherwise Arsenal will plunge even further down the table.”
Such has been the magnitude of the club’s demise under Emery, the Invincibles legend believes there is no way back for the former Sevilla and PSG boss because the fan base have turned against him.
“You have to go back to when the fans turned on Terry Neill 37 years ago,” Keown explained.
“I was at the club when it happened and things got toxic in the club and I think we are getting close to that again.
“Is he able to motivate this team? He seems to have lost the players and the team. The desire seems to have ebbed away.
ARSENAL’S WORST RUN SINCE 1992
Draw – 2-2 Crystal Palace (H)
Draw – 5-5 Liverpool (A – lost on penalties)
Draw – 1-1 Wolves (H)
Draw – 1-1 Vitoria (A)
Lost – 2-0 Leicester (L)
Draw – 2-2 Southampton (H)
Lost – 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt (H)
“I could question players. [Granit] Xhaka wanted to stay on the field but probably should have gone off, [Shkodran] Mustafi couldn’t get off quick enough.
“You have [Alexandre] Lacazette and [Nicolas] Pepe sitting on the bench to come on to come back into the game and it isn’t enough.
“Maybe the manager is in a position where he feels like he needs to step to one side now.”
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Despite the adverse result, Arsenal have all but qualified for the round of 32 knockout stage, after Standard Liege were held to a 1-1 draw with Vitoria.
It now means the Belgian side would need to win by five goals to dump the Gunners out of the competition – a highly unlikely scenario.