Unai Emery is officially no longer a “Gooner” but a goner. As predicted on MyTwoCents a week ago he becomes the second of 3 likely London club sackings in a short space of time. If Manuel Pellegrini fails to get anything out of a tough away trip to Chelsea on Saturday, he could join Mauricio Pochettino and Emery on the dole.
To see both managers of the famous North London rivals shown the door within 10 days of each other is unheard of. But that’s football. Emery had a very tough act to follow in taking over from Arsene Wenger after his epic reign. Manchester United have struggled in a similar vein since Sir Alex Ferguson vacated the crown.
So who is next for the hot seat? As always the bookies are not far from the action and are offering the following odds:
Nuno Santo 4/5
Freddie Ljunberg 1/1
Mikel Arteta 10/1
Mauricio Pochettino 12/1
Massimiliano Allegri 14/1
Eddie Howe 25/1
Other names in the mix – Rafa Benitez, Patrick Vieira, Steven Gerrard, Carlo Ancelotti.
Nuno Santo would be a great choice but he is entrenched at Wolves and it would be hard to see them let go of their prize tactician mid season and with the team flying high. Wolves don’t need the cash and for Santo it would not even be an immediate upgrade. Wolves will finish higher than Arsenal this season.
Freddie is an ex-Arsenal great, having featured in their epic teams of the late 90’s and has the advantage of first crack at the title in being named as caretaker manager. If the team’s form and fortunes improve he could easily get the job on a full-time basis …. hence his even-money odds. But does he have the experience for such a major job right now??
Arteta would also be an astute choice having originally been lined up as Wenger’s replacement only for an 11th hour about turn from Arsenal that saw him end up as Pep Guardiola’s trusted no.2 at Man City. He could make the switch but it would be hard to see Man City letting him go at this stage either.
Poch would be an extremely controversial selection, given the rivalry between Spurs and Arsenal. I doubt Poch would be ready for this challenge right now and probably wouldn’t want to upset the Spurs fans who has recently acknowledged as being very supportive toward him. He also potentially has the pick of some better jobs in Europe that may arise in due course … Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United?
Allegri had a great record at Juventus and would bring with him some instant pedigree. He is a no nonsense manager who would be able to add some spine to the Arsenal squad.
Howe is notoriously loyal, having stuck with Bournemouth despite being regularly touted for bigger clubs. I think he would be a great fit for Arsenal right now and perhaps he is ready for a move having taken Bournemouth as far as he can. He really needs to test himself now. Arsenal would be getting a fantastic manager with the loyalty of Wenger along with tactical nous and outstanding man-management skills. Bournemouth would struggle to stand in his way this time.
The Bet: Go with Howe at 25/1 in combination with Arteta at 10/1. Allegri as an outsider at 14/1 to cover yourself.