Unai Emery picks out the "turning point" that ultimately cost him the Arsenal job

Unai Emery

Unai Emery believes Arsenal's loss to Sheffield United in October was the "turning point" that ultimately led to him losing his job.

Emery was sacked in late November after 18 months in charge at the Emirates Stadium, with Arsenal (opens in new tab) without a victory in seven matches at the time of his departure.

The Gunners' poor form has continued under Freddie Ljungberg and Mikel Arteta, with Sunday's 2-1 defeat by Chelsea (opens in new tab) leaving them 12th in the Premier League table.

And Emery admits that he was unable to turn the situation around after Arsenal lost "confidence" and "stability" following the defeat by Sheffield United (opens in new tab).

"This season, theoretically, we began well and I had the feeling – and so did the club – that the achievements of the previous season were valued," he told BBC Sport (opens in new tab)

"We were now looking to how we could develop together even to the point where they were looking to offer a renewed contract.

"Then I remember we had one month that the frustrations from bad results were beginning to make us worse for the following matches.

"We were losing confidence and a bit of stability. The game against Sheffield United was a bit of a turning point. In one month, everything got broken.

"We were incapable of winning a game in seven and the tension based on the question we were asking 'what's happening to us?' was like a rolling ball that was just getting bigger and bigger.

"The truth is that the coach is the first person to come into the spotlight. I've had it at other clubs and managed to conquer it by getting the team back on track, but at Arsenal that month was terrible. We had to win to regain our emotional equilibrium, to get rid of that frustration, and we couldn't.

"I spoke to the players three or four weeks before the process began to tell them that things were not going well and that I couldn't see the team I pictured on the field of play.

"We looked for solutions. At times defensively we had to be stronger, so we went with three central defenders. We were trying to find a way to tactically synergise [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang, [Mesut] Ozil and [Alexandre] Lacazette so that everyone could play the best possible in their position and the results still didn't come."


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Greg Lea

Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).