Pressure building on Arsenal head coach ahead of City trip – with Wolves boss linked and ‘masterclass’ cancelled
- Credit: PA
Unai Emery’s future at Arsenal is increasingly in doubt ahead of his team’s trip to Norwich this weekend, with Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo reportedly being lined up as the Spaniard’s replacement.
Arsenal have won just one of their last seven Premier league matches and needed an injury-time equaliser to snatch an undeserved home draw against Southampton on Saturday, with Alexendre Lacazette almost too embarrassed to celebrate the goal.
Emery succeeded long-time Gunners boss Arsene Wenger in 2018 and led the north London side to fifth place last season, but is under heavy pressure ahead of two games this week.
Thursday night brings a home Europa League group stage game against German side Eintracht Frankfurt, when victory would secure progress to the knockout stages but defeat would mean a victory at Standard Liege would be needed in their final game to qualify.
Then the trip to Carrow Road follows on Sunday (2pm kick-off), with the Canaries buoyed by a 2-0 win at Everton which lifted them to 18th in the table - with Arsenal eighth but with a goal difference of minus one.
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Ahead of those games the former Paris Saint-Germain boss is favourite to be the next Premier League manager to lose his job with most bookmakers, with Sky Bet and William Hill offering odds of 2/5 and Ladbrookes, Paddy Power and Coral offering 1/2.
Amid that building pressure the Daily Mail has claimed that Santo, who has spearheaded Wolves' rise to prominence following their takeover by wealthy Chinese owners, is the leading candidate to replace Emery.
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The former Porto chief led wealthy Wanderers to the Championship title in 2018 and then eighth place and Europa League qualification last season, with Wolves currently fifth in the table.
There have also been widespread reports that a managerial 'masterclass' that Emery was due to present at University Campus of Football Business (UCFB) in Wembley on Friday has been cancelled.
Students were reportedly emailed and told: "It is with much regret that we can no longer present Unai Emery to UCFB students this Friday.
"We have noticed that there were a number of negative comments aimed at Mr Emery when the guest appearance was initially announced.
"We would like to take this opportunity to remind all students of the digital footprint that you create, which could impact you throughout your career within the football and sports industry.
"Please be mindful of this when interacting with UCFB guests, partners and fellow industry professionals."
That embarrassing incident follows a host of unrest among fans following the draw with Southampton, with club legend Tony Adams among those to be critical of Emery's work.
"The boos are deserved - it was a terrible, terrible performance, very disjointed, no defending in sight. Changed his system three times, he's not doing himself any favours," the former Arsenal captain said, working as a pundit for BT Sport.
"That's a really poor performance and I don't want any coach losing his job, but the club's not going forward, it's not progressing.
"The recruitment's really poor, Koscielny was our best player and he had to go last year and we lost Ramsey, and the team is evidently weaker because of it
"But that's so disjointed, I can put a team together that's more organised than that!
"There's no-one going out to win that game with a clean sheet - I can't see a clean sheet in sight, when you're giving the opposition 20 chances at the Emirates, you're never going to keep clean sheets."