This week’s edition of France Football features a big interview with Unai Emery.
The manager, who was dismissed by Arsenal towards the end of last year, is splashed all over the front cover, and France Football have released some snippets from the chat.
Emery was of course asked about his time with the Gunners, and he defended his record there, believing progress was being made in his first season with the club.
Several players leaving is cited as a reason for problems, especially because those players were important personalities within the Arsenal squad. Emery then went on to question the attitude of some who remained in the squad for this season, in comments which will likely cause a stir.
France Football quote the manager as saying: “Arsenal was a club on the downward slope for two years when I arrived. We stopped this fall and even started to straighten the club with a Europa League final and a fifth place in the championship, only one place behind Tottenham while we only took a point in the last five days.
“We had the qualification for the Champions League in hand and it went wrong in the final. But it was a good season and we had the idea to continue this progression. But we lost our four captains: (Laurent) Koscielny, (Petr) Cech, (Aaron) Ramsey and (Nacho) Monreal. We have missed personalities this season to stay on track. And some stars did not have the right attitude and asked for more than they gave. Given all that, it would have taken more time to successfully transition to the new Arsenal that I wanted.”
A poor attitude is an accusation which has been thrown at several Arsenal players, and some fans may agree with the sentiment even if they believe Emery holds more blame than he’s willing to accept.
Since Mikel Arteta took over at the London club the general outlook has improved, but results haven’t come with that and it’s clear there’s a long way to go for Arsenal to be back challenging at the top of the Premier League.