Unai Emery has been sacked after 18 months of a blighted tenure at Arsenal.
The club made the expected announcement on their website just 12 hours after their 2-1 Europa League defeat to Eintract Frankfurt to leave them without a win in their last seven matches – their worst run since 1992.
A club statement read: “We announce today that the decision has been taken to part company with our head coach Unai Emery and his coaching team.”
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.
“We have asked Freddie Ljungberg to take responsibility for the first team as interim head coach. We have full confidence in Freddie to take us forward.
“The search for a new head coach is underway and we will make a further announcement when that process is complete.”
The Times had reported that Arsenal “are sounding out potential replacements for Emery” and now with his 18-month ended Ljungberg has stepped into the breach.
Emery himself refused to entertain questions about his future after Thursday’s night’s defeat – a loss that Martin Keown labelled a “shambles” before pleading for Arsenal to sack the former PSG coach.
Asked if he feared for his own future last night, Emery said: “I am thinking first to analyse that match and also the Europa League matches. Today we improved things but it wasn’t enough.
After swerving that question, he was then asked: ‘Do you think you will remain in charge?’
He replied: “I am thinking about the next match and how we can improve and achieve confidence with the players. They know we are a little down in our feelings but if we continue with our first half performance, that is the way.”
Another inconclusive answer lead to another question, asking him whether another poor result on Sunday meant his job could be on the line.
“My work and my job is firstly analysing that match, how we are in the Europa League, in our feelings and how we are going to play on Sunday,” he added.
Last night’s official attendance was given as 49,419, based on ticket sales, but The Times claimed the actual attendance was around 25,000 – the lowest through the gate at a competitive senior game since the opening of the Emirates Stadium in 2006.
Former club captain Mikel Arteta, who is Manchester City’s assistant coach, and Nuno Espirito Santo at Wolves have been mentioned as potential long-term replacements for Emery, who was believed to have a contract until 2021.