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'We're losing our identity under Emery' - Keown insists Arsenal boss is already on 'borrowed time'

19:11 SAST 2019/11/15
Unai Emery Arsenal 2019-20
The Gunners legend has suggested the under-fire head coach is no longer the right man to take the club forward, after a poor start to the season

Unai Emery is already "on borrowed time" at Arsenal, according to Martin Keown, who thinks the team have lost their identity under the Spaniard.

The Gunners have slipped to sixth in the Premier League at the start of the 2019-20 campaign, picking up just four wins from their first 12 fixtures, with three defeats on the board already.

A 2-0 loss at Leicester City last weekend left Arsenal eight points adrift of the Champions League places, with a crucial trip to Southampton up next after the international break.

Questions have been asked over Emery's tactical decisions and selection policy in recent months, with Arsenal's free-flowing style under previous boss Arsene Wenger now a distant memory.

Keown, part of Arsenal's 2003-04 Invincibles squad, feels Emery is running out of time to turn things around at Emirates Stadium, with fans and experts already calling for him to be replaced in the hotseat.

When asked if the Spanish manager can help Arsenal rediscover past glories in the long term, Keown told TalkSport: "Only time will tell us that, but at the moment it’s looking like, ‘no’. It doesn’t look right.

“We’ve lost that brand of football Arsenal had, the beautiful football they played under Arsene Wenger.

“We’re losing our identity and we need to get it back really quickly. He looks like a man under pressure.

“He’s getting fractious in the media in terms of his communication, every time we see him it’s three-word answers, it’s not quite the projection the club will want.

“He really needed a break and he got one, so he’s got to bounce back now. The board will back him as long as they can, but he needs to improve the performances.

“I wish Emery well, but I believe we’re now on borrowed time.”

The Gunners finished fifth in the Premier League last term and failed to land a single piece of silverware, as Emery endured mixed fortunes during his first full year in charge.

Keown is certain a repeat performance would cost Emery his job come May, with it his belief that little progress has been made under the 48-year-old's stewardship.

“He’s just being reminded that if Arsenal don’t reach their objectives, which is to make it into the Champions League, then he’ll be without a job," the ex-Arsenal defender added.

"That goes with the territory. Arsenal are striving to get back into the big time, to be in the running to win Premier League titles and to get into the Champions League, and it’s fallen by the wayside.

“Emery’s remit when he came in was to make Arsenal no longer a soft touch, to be more solid, to be stronger. But he’s been there 18 months now and the problems that were there before he came still exist.”