Unai Emery sacked: Arsenal legend Charlie Nicholas backs Brendan Rodgers for Gunners job

Charlie Nicholas has backed Brendan Rodgers to get the Arsenal job
Charlie Nicholas has backed Brendan Rodgers to get the Arsenal job

Arsenal legend Charlie Nicholas has revealed that Brendan Rodgers is his top pick to replace Unai Emery as manager of the Gunners.

Emery was relieved of his duties on Friday morning following Thursday's 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League - a game played in front of a sparse crowd at the Emirates.

In an Arsenal statement, 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."

Speaking exclusively to Sporting Life, Nicholas revealed that he is pleased with the names linked - but the current Leicester boss should be top of the wishlist.

"The targets are all good ones," he stated.

"Nuno Espirito Santo is now a strong favourite. I have no problem with him. It is rare to talk about ex-goalkeepers being coaches, but he has done a fabulous job at Wolves.

"I would be more than happy, he is perhaps not my number one pick, but there is an aggression in this man, who people don’t want to upset. There looks to be a nastiness in there who you could argue with, and sadly that is what the Arsenal player’s need.

"They need the old fashioned material, they don’t need hugs. The Arsenal players and coach need to help each other - they have had it too easy for far too long, so I understand why he would be a very good pick for Arsenal.

Brendan Rodgers: Leicester boss, pictured on his return to Anfield
Brendan Rodgers is Charlie Nicholas' pick to become next Arsenal boss

"My top pick though is Brendan Rodgers. The top players don’t take criticism well and are very protective of themselves. They need to be educated on how to take criticism.

"Under Arsene Wenger, Serge Gnabry and those sorts of players ended up leaving because it was too nice. They go somewhere else and they have to get their act together, and end up proving themselves elsewhere.

"Rodgers was my pick before Emery came in. People said 18 months ago that it is easy to win things. When he walked in at Celtic, they were an average side technically. He improved these players, both technically and in a positional sense.

"When you start to educate, they become better players, not only over the course of three or four months, but forever. That is where the confidence comes from and the togetherness, spirit and passion comes - it all links in."

Rodgers has earned plaudits due to his efforts with Leicester this season, but his successful spell at Celtic added to the trophy count on his managerial CV.

Nicholas points to that as an area of significant strength to a potential Rodgers' appointment, with his haul significantly higher than some of those who are more fancied in the market.

Brendan Rodgers with one of the trophies he won at Celtic
Brendan Rodgers with one of the trophies he won at Celtic

"If they have a seriousness about academy progressing and getting the best out of the players they have, then he [Rodgers] has to be the man," Nicholas continued.

"He took a few hidings in the Champions League, but why should he have been more defensive?

"His success was already there. He doesn’t need a plan B because his plan A was a very good one. If that means the defenders are exposed because they are not good enough, you go and change it, getting better players to come in.

"You must play with identity and style, something which Arsenal do not have. Nuno and Mauricio Pochettino have not won anything, and before people get on my back, Rodgers won nine trophies in Scotland.

"It may have been easier to do, but he won nine out of a possible nine. He was too talented to stay up there for too long.

"This Leicester side are better than the one which won the Premier League - everyone can see that, but every other side has lifted around them, but my target would be Rodgers."

Nicholas also believed that the decision to sack Emery was the right one, while acknowledging that the sack race is often a tough contest to dissect.

"I hate the sacking game, I am never one that wanted to play it too often," he concluded.

Unai Emery
Unai Emery was sacked by Arsenal on Friday

"Part of the punditry job is saying the opinion what I have been asked to give, but Unai Emery had to go. There was no way of rescuing the situation.

"It has been complete meltdown since the captaincy situation, the mess of the captain’s behaviour, they never handled it correctly. The results and style have been poor, there has not been a style.

"This is from a guy, who every club I have seen him at has had a DNA and style, particularly with Valencia and Sevilla. He didn’t control who he brought in at PSG but he let them play.

"I have, but it doesn’t give him any merit, some sympathy. Emery inherited a very bad defence and a lack of structure. The lack of backing and leadership from upstairs is terrifying.

"I couldn’t see him being demanding or going against them. It says it all how he spent £72m on Nicolas Pepe, which hasn’t worked.

"I go back to 15 months ago - I spoke to him and his target was to be like Liverpool. Play and chase with high energy, squeezing football and rock and roll football - in three years, they would be like the Liverpool of now, to an extent.

"He said the defence was the issue which needed to be resolved and 15 months on, it has gotten worse. He has added but it has gotten worse. Why has he brought Granit Xhaka back? It has not helped him, the player himself, or the team. What good was it going to do him?"


Odds correct at 1155 GMT (29/11/19)

Follow Sporting Life on social media - find us on Facebook here or tweet @SportingLifeFC

Related football links

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read Football

The Sporting Life team provide their free tips for Saturday's action across a range of sports1

Saturday's Bets of the Day

Our writers combine to pick out Saturday's best betting opportunities, with racing selections from Sandown to Wolverhampton and our take on the Manchester derby.

The latest Sporting Life football Accumulator2

Sporting Life Accumulator

We're back to a full fixture list this weekend meaning the latest Sporting Life Accumulator involves four teams from across the divisions.

The Manchester derby is one of Saturday's games3

Saturday's Premier League tips

Mark your card for Saturday's Premier League games with Tom Carnduff providing his best bets and score predictions for each clash.

Marcelo Gallardo after winning the CONMEBOL Recopa Sudamericana 20194

Arsenal must look to Gallardo

Arsenal continue in their hunt for a new manager following the sacking of Unai Emery. Tom Carnduff believes they should appoint Marcelo Gallardo.

Football gossip and transfer rumours from the back pages5

Paper Talk: Man Utd eye Eriksen

Manchester United still hope to persuade Christian Eriksen to join them after he rejected them in the summer according to the Daily Mirror.

Most Read Football

The Sporting Life team provide their free tips for Saturday's action across a range of sports1

Saturday's Bets of the Day

Our writers combine to pick out Saturday's best betting opportunities, with racing selections from Sandown to Wolverhampton and our take on the Manchester derby.

The latest Sporting Life football Accumulator2

Sporting Life Accumulator

We're back to a full fixture list this weekend meaning the latest Sporting Life Accumulator involves four teams from across the divisions.

The Manchester derby is one of Saturday's games3

Saturday's Premier League tips

Mark your card for Saturday's Premier League games with Tom Carnduff providing his best bets and score predictions for each clash.

Marcelo Gallardo after winning the CONMEBOL Recopa Sudamericana 20194

Arsenal must look to Gallardo

Arsenal continue in their hunt for a new manager following the sacking of Unai Emery. Tom Carnduff believes they should appoint Marcelo Gallardo.

Football gossip and transfer rumours from the back pages5

Paper Talk: Man Utd eye Eriksen

Manchester United still hope to persuade Christian Eriksen to join them after he rejected them in the summer according to the Daily Mirror.

Football Tips

The latest Sporting Life football Accumulator

Sporting Life Accumulator

We're back to a full fixture list this weekend meaning the latest Sporting Life Accumulator involves four teams from across the divisions.

The Manchester derby is one of Saturday's games

Saturday's Premier League tips

Mark your card for Saturday's Premier League games with Tom Carnduff providing his best bets and score predictions for each clash.

Our best bets in the Sky Bet EFL

Sky Bet EFL: Weekend preview

We're back to a full round of fixtures following the FA Cup weekend. Tom Carnduff picks out his best bets in the Sky Bet EFL.