Kamada double heaps pressure on Emery
Eintracht Frankfurt come from a goal down to win 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium in a telling night of Europa League action
28 November, 2019 — By Paul Cowling at the Emirates Stadium
UEFA Europa League Group F
ARSENAL (Aubameyang 45+1)
EINTRACHT FRANKFURT (Kamada 55, 64)
EINTRACHT Frankfurt came from a goal down to inflict European defeat on a woeful Arsenal side, and surely sound the death knell for Unai Emery’s time as Arsenal manager.
The Gunners were easing into the knockout changes thanks to a stoppage time first half goal from Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, but a double sucker punch in the second half means Emery’s side still have work to do away to Standard Liege on election night, December 12.
“I think we deserved more, but we lost control of the game for 15 minutes when they scored,” reasoned Emery after the game.
The Spanish coach made eight changes from the starting line up that snatched a point in the dreadful 2-2 draw against Southampton on Saturday, but with an experienced bench, this was a game the beleaguered Emery couldn’t take any chances with.
The Arsenal coach picked three at the back, and went with a midfield two of Joe Willock and, surprisingly, Granit Xhaka – who had been Persona non grata, given his fall out with the fans over recent weeks.
Xhaka’s name was cheered and jeered in equal measure by the stadium announcer just prior to kick off. But in truth fans were more focused on the dugout, bellowing and holding up signs that read “We want Emery out.”
Emery talked consistently of “team confidence” when the subject of his future at the club was mentioned after the match.
One of the problems that has constantly befallen Emery is his grasp of English. When asked whether the low crowd, the Emirates Stadium looking barely half full, had had a negative effect on the players, it was as if he hadn’t understood the question.
The vast swathes of empty red seats looked as if the home fans had voted with their feet and stayed away following Arsenal’s shocking run of form. But all Emery would say was, “hopefully we can improve for sure.”
The empty away section was because Frankfurt fans had been banned from attending after crowd disturbances during their away match with Vitoria Guimaraes in the last round of Europa League matches.
With 5,000 Frankfurt fans originally expected to have attended, it still didn’t stop many hundreds from descending on the Emirates before kick off with a cacophony of throaty noise, the fire of flares and the odd angry charge at the cordons of police.
The Met allowed them to greet the team bus, before escorting the Teutonic hordes up to the West End to watch the match on TV.
The German TV viewers will have seen their side confidently deal with Arsenal’s attack in a scrappy first half; until, that is, Frankfurt succumbed to a Pierre Emerick Aubameyang goal as the game went into first half injury time.
“You’re not singing anymore,” chimed the chirpy Gunners fans to the empty away seats.
Xhaka had been given a rousing reception, albeit from a sparsely occupied Clock End, when he came up to take a 15th minute corner. He was also clapped sympathetically when he hobbled towards the touch line for treatment following a knock.
“It’s good news for him,” said Emery, when asked about the reception for the former team captain.
It became apparent that more than a few Frankfurt fans were in the stadium when Daichi Kamada equalised for the visitors just before the hour mark. Against the run of play the Japanese international curled in a shot from the edge of the area.
This was the cue for Frankfurt to start hurtling forward. All of a sudden Arsenal were up against it, and they didn’t seem to have any answers.
Emery brought on Mesut Ozil in a bid to get a grip of a game they had been in control of before the visitors levelled up the scores.
But the Spanish coach looked a forlorn figure with a face of thunder and arms folded as his side were suddenly 2-1 down, Kamada netting his second of the game with another good finish
Suddenly, a whole lot of raucous noise belted out from Frankfurt fans in the stadium as their team went on to win it 2-1.
These were several hundred away supporters, supposedly without tickets but still able to get in to the stadium. UEFA will want an explanation for this.
Arsenal fans will want answers of a different kind as time has almost certainly ran out for Emery at the Emirates.
ARSENAL: Martinez; Mustafi (Torreira, 76), Papastathopoulos, Luiz (Guendouzi, 31); Chambers, Willock, Xhaka, Tierney (Ozil, 59); Martinelli, Aubameyang, Saka
Substitutes not used: Leno, Lacazette, Pepe, Nelson
EINTRACHT FRANKFURT: Ronnow; Abraham, Hasebe, Hinteregger ; da Costa; Sow, Fernandes (Kohr, 45), Kostic, Kamada; Mendez Paciencia, Silva (Gacinovic, 45)
Substitutes not used: Ndicka, Jovelic, Toure, Chandler, Zimmermann