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Arsenal are a team in crisis under Unai Emery.
Fans have had enough. Sunday’s chastening 2-2 Premier League draw against Crystal Palace was, for many, the final straw. The boos and jeers that poured down on Granit Xhaka as he walked off the Emirates pitch were indicative of a fanbase who, after waiting 14 years and counting for the Premier League title, are beginning to think another triumph may never happen.
Emery is baring the brunt of their frustrations. The abuse directed at Xhaka was, most likely, intended for the manager. His tactical tinkerings, his failure to coax the best from Nicolas Pepe, his bizarre treatment of Mesut Ozil and his inability to take the club on have contributed to the frustrations surrounding the north London giants.
The Spaniard is facing a fight for his job. Arsenal can’t carry on like this. Not only are they straying further away from what they once were, they’re also at risk of losing the support of the 60,000 people that fill their stadium out week in, week out.
If it wasn’t for Wenger, Emery would most likely already be out the door.
The Frenchman was a divisive figure during his final months and years at Arsenal. He delivered success via the FA Cup but, in the Premier League, his Gunners side lost their way.
He did leave the ultimate gift for his successor, however, in the form of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gabon international has been the only shining light of the post-Wenger era so far. Without him, Arsenal could feasibly be looking up at more teams than they already are.
Aubameyang is the only Arsenal player who, perhaps, could walk into any side in the world.
Every top Premier League side would have him. Anyone who disagrees simply doesn’t get the game
Aubameyang is deadlier than Marcus Rashford, Roberto Firmino and Tammy Abraham.
Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, at Manchester City and Liverpool respectively, already have fine centre-forwards in the forms of Sergio Aguero and Roberto Firmino.
But they’d happily take Aubameyang. Both nearly did, too.
City wanted Aubameyang the year Pep Guardiola took over, with some reports in Germany even suggesting that a fee had been agreed with Borussia Dortmund.
Ultimately, the Gabon international was too expensive. But Guardiola still wanted him and, undoubtedly, would have found a way to fit him alongside Aguero in attack.
Likewise Liverpool. When Klopp first took over at Anfield, he mulled over bringing the forward in.
But he couldn’t.
Arsenal, without Aubameyang, doesn’t bare thinking about. And, behind the scenes at the Emirates, they’re beginning to sweat.
They know that if they finish outside the top four this season – and under Emery that’s a distinct possibility – then he’s off.
Wenger left Emery the ultimate parting gift.
If it wasn’t for him, the Spaniard wouldn’t be facing calls for his head to roll. Because it would have already.