Unai Emery is facing a desperate battle to save his job after Arsenal slumped to a 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt at a half-empty Emirates Stadium which leaves their Europa League hopes hanging in the balance.
Looking like Arsenal are on course for a new record low attendance at the Emirates. That’s 25,909 vs BATE Borisov. Was never announced as that though… pic.twitter.com/SdSIgP0l1T
— James Benge (@jamesbenge) November 28, 2019
Gunners boss Emery insists he has the backing of the club’s hierarchy but speculation over his position will increase after his team allowed yet another lead to slip after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had given them a first-half lead.
Daichi Kamada struck twice in six minutes to give Frankfurt their first win in four matches and leave the Gunners requiring a draw from their final match at Standard Liege to reach the last 32.
Granit Xhaka returned to the starting line-up for the first time since being stripped of the captaincy following an angry confrontation with supporters during October’s draw with Crystal Palace.
Alongside him in a new central midfield pairing was centre-back David Luiz, perhaps with Sunday’s Premier League trip to Norwich in mind.
The experiment lasted 31 minutes as Luiz was forced off with a chest injury but Arsenal were already the better side by that stage, Aubameyang heading an early chance wide before Gabriel Martinelli had an effort cleared off the line by Gelson Fernandes.
The Gunners had to wait until first-half stoppage-time to take the lead. Martinelli made inroads down the right and crossed where Bukayo Saka missed the ball completely with an attempted shot but it ran to Aubameyang, who scuffed his effort but it still had enough pace to beat Frankfurt goalkeeper Frederik Ronnow via the underside of the crossbar.
The visitors had shown precious little quality all evening but turned the game on its head inside 20 minutes of the restart.
Kamada’s first was a superb effort, curled past Emiliano Martinez from the edge of the box, but the second owed plenty to poor defending.
Xhaka headed a corner clear but Arsenal were slow to close Kamada down, giving him time to fire low into the net. Both goals were cheered by a small section of the stadium’s Club Level seats despite a UEFA ban blocking any Frankfurt fans from attending.
The official number of tickets sold on the night was 49,419 but around half that figure turned up. The only ones audible at the end were Frankfurt supporters who had found a way in, accompanied by loud boos from Arsenal supporters increasingly disillusioned with Emery’s tenure.