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Unai Emery’s days are numbered after adapting baffling negative tactics at Arsenal

Arsenal manager Unai Emery is on very borrowed time at the moment and not just because of an awful run of results of late. 

The Gunners sunk deeper into their slump on Saturday night, as high-flying Leicester brushed Emery’s men aside with a 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium. Arsenal’s support watched on as Jamie Vardy finished a classy passing move of the kind they were once so used to seeing from their side. 

Instead, the inevitability of the result and lack of inspiration they saw left even the most patient of fans losing faith in the Spanish coach. 

Emery’s men are already languishing eight points behind their top four rivals in the race for a Champions League spot, but arguably that hasn’t been the fans’ biggest worry of the season. 

Time is running out for Unai Emery, with his Arsenal side eight points outside the top four

Jamie Vardy helped Leicester brush past Arsenal on Saturday to deepen the Gunners slump

Jamie Vardy helped Leicester brush past Arsenal on Saturday to deepen the Gunners slump

The Gunners continued to look out of ideas. The stats don't look good, with a 33 per cent rate

The Gunners continued to look out of ideas. The stats don’t look good, with a 33 per cent rate

While football is a results business – especially at a club the size of Arsenal – the attacking intent to inspire fans needs to be there as well but under Emery, Arsenal seem to have gone backwards. 

Emery has plenty of attacking threat at his disposal, including the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe. However, much to the dismay of Arsenal fans, the Spaniard is failing to get the best out of them with the latter coming in for particular scrutiny following his £72million move.

Instead, he has adopted a negative approach in the Premier League, one which has effectively piled the pressure on his defence – the weakest part of his squad.   

Emery knows Champions League football is a must for the squad after missing out on it last season, as well as in the final two years’ of Arsene Wenger’s reign.

Emery has been reliant on captain Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, who has won them 10 points

Emery has been reliant on captain Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, who has won them 10 points

But if the Gunners continue to play the way they are, then a fourth consecutive campaign in the Europa League awaits. And Emery has to shoulder the blame at present after instilling an underdog mindset and dispelling the club’s attacking identity.

Arsenal’s win percentage had dropped to 33 per cent. That is the lowest in the Premier League behind only the 1994-95 campaign under George Graham (29 per cent). 

Arsenal finished 12th that season.  

Against Wolves at the Emirates, Arsenal faced an astonishing 25 shots at goal compared to just 10 up the other end. But it wasn’t a one-off, all season they have adapted a defensive approach.

Remarkably, Arsenal – a side looking to claim their place back among Europe’s elite – have faced the third most amount of shots (197) in the Premier League this season after just 12 games. Only newly-promoted Aston Villa (213) and Norwich (208) have faced more.

They have also faced the third most shots on target (67), with only Norwich (76), their struggling rivals Tottenham (72) and West Ham (71), allowing more chances on goal.

Bernd Leno has been quietly brilliant to limit the damage, making the most saves in the league

Bernd Leno has been quietly brilliant to limit the damage, making the most saves in the league

Their defence, which was already very vulnerable before he took over in the summer of 2018, is being worked into overtime. 

And his uninspiring tactics of grabbing an early lead before sitting back and trying to hold onto the three points, is simply inviting huge amounts of pressure on – perhaps making the defence and goalkeeper look worse than they actually are.

The Gunners have produced the third most blocks (56) in the English top-flight while goalkeeper Bernd Leno has made the third most saves (49).

And as a result of the pragmatic tactics, holding on to leads is proving very hard to come by. In their last four consecutive matches in all competitions prior to Leicester, they let advantages slip to teams they should be outplaying and beating, including Crystal Palace, Wolves and Vitoria.

In the Premier League, they have dropped six points from winning positions, with only four more sides conceding more. 

Emery is unlikely to last to the end of the season, showing few signs of turning things around

Emery is unlikely to last to the end of the season, showing few signs of turning things around 

Emery’s over-reliance on his defence is limiting the amount of creativity going forward, despite the array of talent they have in midfield and attack. But fortunately for the manager, Aubameyang has managed to bail him out on plenty of occasions this season.

The Gabon striker – recently given the captain’s armband following Granit Xhaka’s furious spat with supporters against Crystal Palace at the Emirates – has won the most points out of any player in the Premier League for his club.

Aubameyang has claimed 10 out of 17 points for the north London outfit in their 12 matches this season. Who knows where they would be without their star man. 

But if Emery doesn’t implement a free-flowing philosophy in the near future, main man Aubameyang might be forced to look elsewhere for his Champions League dreams.

And for Emery, his Arsenal tenure could be over before he knows if both results and performances don’t pick up.

Arsenal are meant to be desperately fighting for a Champions League spot, but the way they are playing at present suggests otherwise and the manager bears the brunt of responsibility.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk