LONDON: Unai Emery has been sacked as manager Arsenal not even halfway through his second season.
Thursday’s 2-1 Europa League defeat at home to Eintracht Frankfurt made it seven games without a win for the Gunners, their worst run since 1992.
They are without a Premier League victory since 6 October and eight points off the top four.
Executive director Josh Kroenke said: “Our most sincere thanks go to Unai and his colleagues who were unrelenting in their efforts to get the club back to competing at the level we all expect and demand. We wish Unai and his team nothing but future success.”
“The decision has been taken due to results and performances not being at the level required.”
The Spaniard, who previously led Paris Saint-Germain to the French league title and won three Europa Leagues with Sevilla, was appointed Gunners boss in May 2018, succeeding Arsene Wenger. He has been replaced on a temporary basis by assistant and former Arsenal midfielder Freddie Ljungberg.
Ljungberg took training on Friday and the Arsenal statement added: “We have full confidence in Freddie to take us forward.
“The search for a new head coach is under way and we will make a further announcement when that process is complete.”
Ljungberg posted on social media: “However long I oversee Arsenal for I will give everything I have to put smiles on faces again. We have a busy few weeks ahead and the team needs your support. Let’s get to work.”
Arsenal’s head of football Raul Sanllehi and technical director Edu informed Emery at about 09:00 on Friday and the players were told at 10:00 as they arrived for a recovery session. Ljungberg addressed the players and Emery also had the chance to say goodbye.
Names already linked with the job include Wolves’ Nuno Espirito Santo, Manchester City assistant coach Mikel Arteta, ex-Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri and Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe.
Arsenal finished fifth in 48-year-old Emery’s first season in charge at Emirates Stadium after he replaced Wenger.
They went into this season having spent more than £130m in the summer after signing winger Nicolas Pepe, centre-back David Luiz, left-back Kieran Tierney, striker Gabriel Martinelli and defender William Saliba, who will join next summer.
The club also brought in midfielder Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid.
They started this season with back-to-back victories against Newcastle and Burnley, but that run ended with defeat by Liverpool, before draws with north London rivals Tottenham and Watford followed.
Their last Premier League victory was a 1-0 win over Bournemouth.
On Saturday, they battled to a 2-2 draw – their sixth of the season – at home to Southampton, with Alexandre Lacazette scoring an injury-time equaliser. They have conceded 19 goals in 13 top-flight games this season.
Emery is the third managerial dismissal in the English top flight this season, after Javi Gracia and Pochettino departed Watford and Tottenham respectively.