Arsenal are finally ready to move on from Unai Emery
Mired in a seven-match winless stretch over all competitions and now rid of their disappointing manager, the Gunners hope the rut finally ends on Sunday against Norwich City at Carrow Road.
To most supporters of Arsenal (4-6-3), Friday's unsurprising news that Emery had been sacked was a long-time coming. The Gunners are 0-5-2 over all competitions - their worst run in 27 years - and entered this weekend's Premier League matchday eighth in the table.
The apparent breaking point for the Arsenal big wigs came with Thursday's 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League. The Gunners' last victory in any competition came against Vitoria de Guimaraes in the Europa League on Oct. 24, and their most recent Premier League triumph was over Bournemouth on Oct. 6.
"The decision has been taken due to results and performances not being at the level required," the club said in a statement.
The Gunners went 43-16-19 in less than two seasons under Emery, who replaced the legendary Arsene Wenger - who spent 22 years in charge of the club. Whilst the team conducts a search for Emery's full-time replacement, assistant and former Arsenal star Freddie Ljungberg will take over the club in a caretaker role.
"We have asked Freddie Ljungberg to take responsibility for the first team as interim coach," the statement continued. "We have full confidence in Freddie to take us forward."
That begins Saturday back in the Premier League, where the Gunners are amidst an 0-3-2 spell and coming off a 2-2 home draw with Southampton last weekend. Alexandre Lacazette scored both goals for Arsenal, the second in the 96th minute just to earn the point. That effort against the Saints doubled the league goal total for the banged-up Lacazette, who has played in eight top-flight matches this season.
Arsenal are 5-1-0 in the last six matches over all competitions against Norwich, but these clubs have not met since October 2017 during League Cup play. Canaries manager Daniel Farke already knew his team faced a tough challenge from the visiting Gunners, but he thinks the club could be in for an even more spirited performance in light of the recent events.
"I think there will be a fresh energy in the Arsenal side," Farke said told Norwich's official website. "To have a legend like Freddie in charge will be a big boost for the fans and players."
Though the Canaries (3-1-9) entered the weekend at the top of the relegation zone, they are coming off their first road victory of the season, 2-0 over reeling Everton to end an 0-1-6 Premier League slide. Todd Cantwell scored in the 55th minute and Dennis Srbeny came through with some insurance in stoppage time as Norwich added to the recent struggles at Everton.
Even with the victory, Farke and his team continue to keep things in perspective.
"We're not too down after disappointing results, and weren't too high after the Everton win," he said. "We remain the underdogs in every game, especially against Arsenal. But we always have a chance."
Cantwell, second on the team with three league goals, is expected to play despite picking up a knock against Everton.