Hours after Arsenal confirmed Unai Emery’s exit reports surfaced that several first-team players mocked the manager as his failed spell in north London unraveled.
Arsenal players taunted the Spaniard on the flight home from a Europa League clash with Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal, according to the Evening Standard’s James Olley.
“How many captains do we have?” said an unnamed player within earshot of Emery, who sat alone on the flight home following the 1-1 draw, reports Olley.
The comment was aimed at Emery’s decision to strip Granit Xhaka of the armband. Nine players assumed captaincy duties during Emery’s year-and-a-half tenure at the helm for Arsenal.
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Olley alleges players mocked Emery’s broken English on numerous occasions, both openly, and passively through “likes” on social media. Emery’s English improved dramatically since his appointment, but the consensus is the players were often unsure what he was trying to intimate.
Communication was at the root of Emery’s divide from the players. Winger Bukayo Saka confirmed as much in September, saying, “sometimes when I don’t understand when the coach is trying to communicate with me, I have a better communication with Freddie [Ljungberg].”
Emery’s sacking was a long time in the making; the former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla manager’s countless confusing decisions and marathon video sessions amid the Gunners’ worst run in 27 years only accelerated the process.
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