It has been a bit over two years and four months since Arsenal sacked Unai Emery following a disappointing spell as our manager.
The Spaniard led us to a fifth-place finish and to the Europa League final in his first season here. His second one proved to be disastrous and he was shown the door just over three months into the campaign.
Emery has since gone on to achieve extraordinary things in Spain with Villarreal. There has been a ton of changes at the Emirates as well, which is evident if you look at the Spaniard’s final starting XI as our boss.
Unai Emery’s final Arsenal XI shows how much the Gunners have changed
Emery’s final game in charge of Arsenal was against Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League.
Out of the 11 players who started the game that night, only four are still at Arsenal – Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Granit Xhaka and Kieran Tierney.
Joe Willock was sold to Newcastle and Emi Martinez to Aston Villa, while David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Calum Chambers and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were all let go for nothing.
Among the players on the bench, just Bernd Leno, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe are still at the Emirates today, which shows just how much we’ve changed under Mikel Arteta.
Were Arsenal wrong to sack Emery?
Emery’s immense success at Villarreal has opened the door for some pundits and members of the media to have a go at Arsenal for not giving him enough time. Many now believe that the Spaniard would’ve taken Arsenal to the semi-final of the Champions League if he was still here, but let’s be honest, that was never going to happen.
Don’t get us wrong, Emery is a phenomenal football manager. He’s been successful at most clubs he’s been at, but he just wasn’t the right fit at Arsenal – his 18 months here told us that.
Even though we did fairly well in his first season here, it wasn’t the Arsenal we know and love. His second year proved that and we didn’t really have a choice but to show him the door.
Emery has moved on and is doing really well. We can only be happy for him and wish him well, but to say he should’ve stayed at Arsenal is just wrong – even the Spaniard himself may agree to this.