Some Arsenal fans are convinced that former manager Unai Emery will show current boss and successor Mikel Arteta ‘levels’ when the Gunners face Villarreal in the next round of the Europa League.
Arsenal saw off Slavia Prague whilst Villarreal knocked out Dinamo Zagreb to book their places in the semi-finals of Europe’s secondary club competition.
Arteta will now be pitted against his predecessor in what promises to be an intriguing matchup, with plenty at stake, as the result could justify whether the club made the right decision in sacking Emery.
Emery took the reins at the Emirates Stadium after Arsene Wenger retired after his legendary spell, but was in charge for just 18 months before being relieved of his duties. Arteta was appointed a month later.
The Gunners finished fifth in their only Premier League season under Emery, whilst they also collapsed in the Europa League final to rivals Chelsea.
On the other hand, Arteta steadied the ship after the dire final stages of Emery’s spell at the club, leading them to a mediocre eighth-placed finish in league, but winning the FA Cup.
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Here is how some of the Arsenal faithful have reacted to the face-off being confirmed:
Unai Emery owns the Europa League. Man actually knows how to play that competition
If Arsenal are able to eliminate him which I hope we do, I’ll actually applaud Mikel Arteta for that tbh
— KELEWELE JOINT ? (@ANKAMAGYIMI__) April 15, 2021
Emery gonna humble us
— K?? (@afck17) April 15, 2021
Can’t wait for Emery to end arteta
— Artetaout (@partey54321) April 15, 2021
We will play a better next round and Unai Emery will show Arteta levels ??
— ??? (@TylerAFC_) April 15, 2021
Emery getting Arteta sacked might be worth it
— ????? LENO OUT (@DyIanS7) April 15, 2021
Please Arsenal. I will never forgive you if you lose this
— Zak (@zakafc1) April 15, 2021
Arteta can’t lose to Emery
— SM (@SMASE_) April 15, 2021
Gonna find out if it was worth it sacking Emery for Arteta in the semi
— PERRlE (@Chatsterrr) April 15, 2021
Emery took charge of Villarreal last summer and has the Spanish side sitting seventh in La Liga. The Spaniard broke the club’s unbeaten record after 18 matches without a loss earlier this season.
The Yellow Submarines have won seven of their last eight matches across all competitions, whilst Emery’s record in the Europa League proves that the Gunners should face a difficult task.
Emery won the competition three consecutive times during his spell at Sevilla and later reached the final when he returned to the competition in charge of Arsenal after a couple of years managing PSG.
Arsenal’s only realistic hope of returning to the Champions League after years out rests on them winning the Europa League. Even if they overcame Villarreal, rivals Man United will likely be waiting in the final.