Petit: Arsenal stagnating as Emery lacks club’s support
Unai Emery replaced Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager last summer and, eight months and five signings later, nothing has changed, says former Gunners midfielder Emmanuel Petit.
Arsenal, who finished sixth in the English Premier League in Wenger's final season, are currently fifth under Emery - six points below fourth place.
Last week, Emery, 47, revealed that he can make only loan additions in this month's transfer window as they aim to end a two-year absence from the Champions League.
Petit feels that Emery, who brought in Matteo Guendouzi, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Bernd Leno, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Lucas Torreira, has not been adequately backed in the transfer market.
"It's like Wenger is out, but I have the feeling that it's the same old story," the 1998 World Cup winner told the Daily Mirror.
"I am disappointed. Nothing has changed. So why did they sack Arsene? If you sack the manager, you need to start a revolution. If you don't give control to Emery, allow him to oversee a revolution, give him the power to bring in new players to change the playing style, then why create all of this mess?"
Part of the "mess" has to do with the curious case of Mesut Oezil, who hasn't played since Boxing Day and has polarised fans and pundits alike.
Petit believes that the German wizard, who is the highest-paid player in Arsenal history, has lost his motivation.
"I think he lost his motivation and desire. He looks as if he is just waiting for his retirement," the 48 -year-old said.
"A player losing his motivation happens a lot... It's very difficult to play at the same level all of the time... He earns so much money, has already won so many titles... I can see what's going on out on the pitch and his body language is not good."
Former Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood says that making Oezil feel like the "main man" can help the 30-year-old regain his form and improve the Gunners.
Sherwood said on Sky Sports' podcast The Debate: He's one of Emery's best players. You can't burn bridges with a player who is on £350,000 (S$612,000) a week... You have to get him on side and on the pitch, and do his best to make the team better.
"Guendouzi and Torreira are good at what they do, but they cannot see the pass like Oezil.
"Get your arm around him and make him feel like he's the main man, because Oezil on form is better than anything Arsenal have."
Arsenal face London rivals Chelsea on Sunday morning (Singapore time) and Emery will have to do without Henrikh Mkhitaryan (foot injury), who is set to return to training next week, the club have confirmed.
Both Rob Holding (knee) and Danny Welbeck (ankle) are also out as they are still recovering after surgery.