Mikel Arteta is under huge pressure in light of Arsenal’s 0-0 draw with Villarreal in the Europa League semi-final.
Arsenal failed to overturn a first leg deficit and limped out of Europe with a 2-1 aggregate defeat following an ominously meek display at the Emirates Stadium.
The distinct lack of urgency, desire and cutting-edge was laid bare throughout proceedings and, despite the fact Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit the post twice on the night, Unai Emery’s side thoroughly deserved to progress into the final against Manchester United.
Such was the tepidness of the display, serious questions are being asked about Arteta’s credentials and calls for him to leave at the end of the season are increasing in both volume and regularity.
The Gunners currently occupy ninth place in the Premier League and stand little chance of rising into the Europa League places before the end of the season.
They are staring down the barrel of inevitable failure 26 years after they last failed to qualify for Europe.
It’s a damning set of circumstances for a relative novice in Arteta whose brand of football is yet to catalyse a rebirth in north London.
With the club mired in mediocrity and consistently falling further behind their domestic rivals, it would be a major surprise if the Spaniard remained in a job next season.
When asked about his future in the aftermath of Thursday’s Europa League exit, Arteta insisted that he remains the right man for the job.
“I wouldn’t be sitting here if I couldn’t. You will see it. It’s not about talking, it’s about showing it on the pitch.
“I feel the pressure all the time because I want to do as good as I can for the team, for every support that I have here and for the fans. Today is a big disappointment because we tried everything to be in that final.
“I think everybody’s job is under scrutiny.”
But who would replace Arteta at this stage? How much pulling power remains at Arsenal following years of decline?
Well, according to oddschecker.com, the three-time Premier League winners are still capable of luring a serial winner into the manager’s hot seat.
The bookies have Massimiliano Allegri, who won Serie A six times during stints with AC Milan and Juventus, as the favourite to replace Arteta at 13/5.
Allegri has been out of work since leaving his post with the Old Lady in June 2019 and is never too far away from speculation linking him with Europe’s top jobs.
Brendan Rodgers, who was heavily linked with Arsenal following Emery’s dismissal, is next on the list of favourites at 3/1, while former star Patrick Vieira is available at 10/1.
Elsewhere, free agent Eddie Howe and former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez are touted as potential successors, while Freddie Ljungberg is an outside bet to return in a permanent role having taken temporary charge before Arteta’s appointment.
Here’s the list in full below:
1. Max Allegri (13/5)
2. Brendan Rodgers (3/1)
3. Patrick Vieira (10/1)
4. Diego Simeone (10/1)
5. Rafa Benitez (10/1)
6. Eddie Howe (11/1)
7. Ralph Hasenhuttl (11/1)
8. Paulo Fonseca (14/1)
9. Gian Piero Gasperini (14/1)
10. Freddie Ljungberg (16/1)