Arsenal “very happy” with Emery – Venkatesham
Arsenal’s managing director Vinai Venkatesham says the club still feels Unai Emery is the right coach to take the team forward amid increased scrutiny.
The Spaniard was the man charged with filling the very big shoes left by Arsene Wenger when he walked away at the end of the 2017/18 season and it was an up and down first year at the helm for Emery.
The ex-Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla boss failed to secure a top-four finish with a late-season collapse seeing Arsenal end up in fifth, while the north Londoners were comprehensively beaten 4-1 by Chelsea in the final of the Europa League.
This season has seen Arsenal produce a mixed bag of results, winning their first two matches before being overrun in a 3-1 defeat at Liverpool at the end of August.
That was followed by a battling 2-2 draw with Tottenham before the international break, while they returned to action with a disappointing 2-2 tie at Watford last Sunday.
The Gunners had been 2-0 ahead at the break but were overrun by the Hornets after half-time, Watford racking up 31 shots to Arsenal’s seven.
In the aftermath, the finger of blame for the collapse has been pointed at Emery, who has been criticised for his tactical approach away from home.
Ahead of Thursday’s Europa League game at Eintracht Frankfurt, Venkatesham has come out in defence of the head coach, insisting the Arsenal hierarchy have not lost any faith in him.
“We think he is doing an excellent job, so we are very happy,” he told The Straits Times.
“When we appointed Unai, the team that worked on that looked at lots of different attributes that we felt we want to have in our head coach.”
The managing director went on to add that he was pleased to see Emery giving the club’s academy graduates a chance this season with Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock having featured regularly in the first-team squad.
He feels it is imperative for the senior team to contain players who understand “what it means to play for Arsenal” and hopes they will continue to feature on a regular basis.
Chris Rivers is an experienced reporter who closely follows both Arsenal and Wales Rugby Union team. As well as in-depth football and rugby knowledge, Chris is an avid American Football, Formula One and boxing fan.