Mikel Arteta steered Arsenal to FA Cup glory in August, but just four months later finds his Gunners tenure under increasing pressure.
Here, the PA news agency looks at what is going wrong at the Emirates Stadium.
Why is Arteta’s future in doubt?
Winless domestically since their 1-0 victory at Manchester United on November 1, Arsenal have five defeats and two draws in their last seven Premier League matches.
The Gunners were then thumped 4-1 by Manchester City in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup quarter-final, stretching that wretched domestic form to eight matches without a win.
Why the sharp decline in form?
Arteta insists the challenge at Arsenal spans far wider than simply coaching the team, with the former Gunners captain demanding and determined to oversee a complete revamp of almost every department at the club.
That process was kick-started in mid-August by the departure of head of football Raul Sanllehi.
Arteta and technical director Edu have gained greater control on recruitment in the wake of Sanllehi’s exit, but now the pressure will really be on them both to make that count.
That reshuffle was the fourth such board reorganisation at Arsenal since Arsene Wenger left north London in 2018. Stability and clarity of vision are now greatly craved at the Emirates to plot a course out of the current predicament.
Is this a relegation battle?
💬 "[At half-time] he was pushing, he was saying he was completely fine, that he wanted to carry on.
"When he was [back] on the pitch, he was uncomfortable so it was an easy decision to take him off." pic.twitter.com/ByE7rAaAeN
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 22, 2020
Well, Arteta has not been drawn as openly as to accept the Gunners are fighting for their Premier League lives – but the candid Spaniard did concede Arsenal are in “big trouble” in the wake of their Manchester City hammering.
As wretched as their current form may be, the bald truth is that continuing in the same vein would just about see Arsenal safe.
The Gunners are not quite yet in the doomsday territory of being labelled too good to go down, but must quickly find form – not only to avoid a relegation scrap but also to keep Arteta in a job.
Who’s up next for the Gunners?
Arteta’s men host Chelsea in a tough London derby assignment on Boxing Day, before travelling to Brighton on December 29. Arsenal will start 2021 at West Brom on January 2, before entertaining Newcastle in the FA Cup a week later.