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Unai Emery gives his thoughts on Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta ahead of Europa League clash

Mikel Arteta has struggled as Arsenal manager this season
Mikel Arteta has struggled as Arsenal manager this season
ANALYST
Modified 28 Apr 2021
News

Villarreal boss Unai Emery has given his thoughts on Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta ahead of their UEFA Europa League semi-final clash on Thursday.

Emery was the former manager of the Gunners. He was sacked midway through the 2019-20 season following a dismal run of results.

When asked about Arteta's stint as Arsenal manager and how he feels the club have fared since he left, Emery told UEFA.com:

"[Mikel] Arteta is putting his own stamp on things – in the way they play, it’s easy to identify he’s bringing back that Arsenal tradition of playing attractive football. His first steps as Pep Guardiola’s assistant have helped him to position himself in this new profession which is being the manager. Now he has been given this opportunity at Arsenal, and I think it’s a good place to develop because he is much loved by Arsenal thanks to the time he spent in the team."

The Spaniard added:

"When Arsenal are in form, they are a top team. We’ve seen that this season. He had his time [playing] there with Arsène Wenger so I’m sure he can apply everything he learned. I think it’s a good marriage: Arteta-Arsenal, Arsenal-Arteta."

The Europa League is both clubs' only realistic chance of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League next season.

Unai Emery focused on getting one over on Arsenal

Unai Emery could return to haunt Arsenal in the UEFA Europa League
Unai Emery could return to haunt Arsenal in the UEFA Europa League

Unai Emery was also asked about facing his former side in a game of such magnitude.

The Spaniard was clear that he is aiming to beat Arsenal and progress to the finals of the Europa League. He said:

"I want to win for myself and for Villarreal. [Two years ago] I was defending Arsenal’s red [and white] colours in that final against Chelsea, now I feel that affinity for the yellow of Villarreal. I have that competitive instinct, that responsibility I owe the club and everyone I represent with my decisions. I did that proudly when I was at Arsenal, now I’ll do that at Villarreal."

He continued:

"I will have to put aside my feelings for Arsenal, and I will have to put all my energies into making sure that the Yellow Submarine gets the upper hand in the tie. It will be a great contest, regardless of my having coached there recently. The two clubs have their own history between themselves – they met in the [2006] Champions League semi-finals, which both teams will remember well, especially both sets of fans and the players who took part in that tie, such as Robert Pirès who played for both teams. You should ask him who he’ll be supporting."
Published 28 Apr 2021
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