Arteta surprised and grateful Emery reached out before taking job

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Mikel Arteta says he spoke to Unai Emery before taking over in the Arsenal dugout and was thankful that his compatriot reached out to talk about the project he was inheriting.

Emery lasted 18 months in charge at the Emirates before being sacked in November 2019 following an eight-game winless run. Within a month, Arteta was lured from Manchester City to take over as head coach. He went on to win the FA Cup but struggled to rehabilitate the club’s league form on the way to an eighth-place finish.

Reflecting on his interaction with Emery, who he will face tomorrow night in the Europa League semi-finals, the boss said:

“I spoke to him a few times because we had people in common. Then I spoke to him before I took over at the club. He was really helpful, a really successful and experienced manager, in the Europa League especially with what he’s done. There’s no doubt that he has the tools to manage at the top level.

“He offered me that opportunity which is sometimes unusual and he was very sincere and open. I was very grateful for that.”

He added: “He was very honest, very open and I was very grateful because it’s not something that’s very common. I know a lot of people who’ve worked with him and been around him and they all said the same thing, as a person, he’s a fantastic man. Obviously, he’s a great manager but they highlight the man behind it and who he is. In this situation, because it came from him, which is unusual, I was surprised and I was grateful.”

For both Emery and Arteta, winning the Europa League represents the only viable chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League. The stakes are high enough without the media peddling a ‘revenge’ narrative.

“I cannot control that,” said Arteta. “The relationship existed, we cannot go against it. Unai knows the club really, really well. We know Unai as well, what he did before he joined here and what he did at the football club and that’s it.

He added: “It didn’t work for him but he did a lot of good things at the club. During his time he reached a European final, he put a team [together] that competed for the Champions League. The club decided to take a different route but he did a lot of good things as well.”

“I don’t know the reasons why he was criticised. You ask me about the job he did, what the people at the club said, what the players said about him and I can only have good and nice words for him.”

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Alex

You know what I want back? I want Kevin Keegan ranting at the press about Alex Ferguson. I want pizza-gate.

Am I the only one?

Johnny 4 Hats

I feel like pizza-gate is a whole other thing now. I think we’ll have to rename it “Buffet Bedlam”.

Laca New Signing

Good ebening.

GoonerAllDay

Chill with that

Nikhil Agarwal

This shit is old, man. Have some respect.

Johnny 4 Hats

If we can stop Emery and his Villarreal side being protagonist chameleons, then we’ve got a good chance tonight.

Xzibit

If they become that..they will stop themselves.

JeremyDG

Emery: Welcome Mikel, you have a title challenging team. All you need is to sign Willian for 3 years and every time a logical decision presents itself…do the opposite. Also, make sure you piss off your best player and never play the kids.

*walks off cackling

Andreas

Emery did play youngsters

Heavenly Chapecoense

He meant

Heavenly Chapecoense

He meant, Arteta doesn’t or not enough.

Sak, Lac & Craic

But he does play the kids, almost every game…

Heavenly Chapecoense

Not fan favorites Martinelli and Balogoun and academy genius Nelson.

Nketibag

A classy touch from old emmers
He did seem like a decent, well-meaning guy but it was the wrong fit at the wrong time. Hope he loses the plot tomorrow mind you.

Crash Fistfight

So, pretty similar to the next bloke, then?

Heavenly Chapecoense

Not for the mistress in the bed when he was watching games on his Ipad.

gooner

Once a gunner always a gunner. Didn’t work out well for him but looking at the issues we had with Gazidis leaving, Sven and then working for Raul, he did a good job. Hindsight I know.

Now let’s smash his team

viegunner

with all due respect as i quite like him, i don’t see how he did a good job. we looked absolutely horrible towards the end, and even during our unbeaten streak most of us here felt we were quite lucky several times.

remember getting battered by 10-man watford? how we didn’t make the CL with quite an easy run-in where we drew again and again?

evaristus asobara

Drew? I remember getting hit for 3 in consecutive games by teams that, with all due respect, had no business beating us. Arteta has a worse record, but let’s not whitewash History.

Biggles

Yes, let’s not forget that currently we’re on course for our lowest top-flight finish since 1994-95. That’s two places lower and four points further from a top-four place than when Emery was sacked in November 2019.

John g

Totally agreed. In his worst year he was better than our current best form

Heavenly Chapecoense

Liverpool fans could say same things this year. So many teams had no business beating them.

Heavenly Chapecoense

No luck gives you 20 unbeaten games. Only expertise does.

Andi

We are gonna lose so so bad 🥲

Ozzie

Oi, stop it!

Andy

Yeah mate. Cut it out!

goonshow

troll

Public Elneny

If anyone should have nothing to fear from an Unai Emery team, it should be us (or Spartak Moscow)

Disarmed Gunner

I’ve been sick with flu (COVID?) for the past 2 days and missed work, gym sessions and important events. And now this game is on at 3am over here. So even though I’m better, I took another day off so I can get up to watch us. Do not let us down! Nothing can top what a wonderful feeling it is to win as an Arsenal fan.
I’d sacrifice any financial gain or relationship to see Arsenal back at the top again. It starts tonight. Losing is not an option.

OscarSaurus

Get better soon mate!

Disarmed Gunner

Thanks man

Nunya

It’s my birthday today.

Arteta. It’s my birthday.

Do you hear?

Don’t fuck me over.

Qwaliteee

Too late pal, he’s already fucked us all over by publicly backing Kroenke.
Happy Birthday 🥳

goonshow

So you’d rather he starts a public feud with the owners in the week of our biggest game in years? Just to grind an axe that can easily be sharpened (and will naturally be sharper, should we somehow manage to win this thing!) If – IF – he wins this… his stock soars and his voice grows that much louder at boardroom level. I, for one believe he’s a pretty astute fella – and that he’s playing the long game. And will back him until I consistently see otherwise… and that doesn’t mean some dodgy subs and selections. Frustrating as… Read more »

Dr G

2 day flu? 2 day COVID?
I think you had a cold and I’m glad you’re over it so quickly.

Disarmed Gunner

Nowadays it’s almost impossible to know what’s a flu, dicky tummy, cold or COVID, since all the symptoms can seem so similar. I never go to the doctors. My go to remedy for any illness has always been: ginger tea, curries with lots of garlic and plenty of water. I rarely sleep more than 6 hours a night. Maybe too much coffee during the day. A nacho fell on the bar table the other night and, against my better judgement, I ate it. I’ve worked in bars so know full well how filthy those tables are. But then again… Maybe… Read more »

santori

Unai never got a fair rub from the fans and was replaced too quickly. He had a lot of issues to deal with. Fans who claimed they were patient when chanting Wenger Out proved ‘surprisingly’ otherwise. He’s bounced back decently this season with Villareal, a far more humble resourced team than what is in hand for Arteta. Hopefully we beat Villareal otherwise its Good Ebening. They look a very organized unit to have beaten Partizan Zagreb. (On that note, if we are shopping for additions soon, I’d keep a close eye on Orsic, superb player likely on demand but should… Read more »

Disarmed Gunner

It’s very difficult to assess Emery fairly as he was judged to a different standard than Arteta is being judged. At the time of his sacking, Emery really had to go. All of the fans frustrations were at boiling point (not all of which Emery was to blame for) and Emery’s brand of pedantic, overtly cautious football was not helping. The wheels had fallen of that beautiful wagon and it was easier to just buy a new one. Pretty good first season, terrible second. He had to go. That’s how big clubs operate. Problem is, Arteta is doing even worse.… Read more »

goonshow

Don’t agree – the one over-riding constant in top level football is that a manager has to have the dressing room ready to die in a ditch for him.
Yes, we’ve had strangely listless – even disinterested – displays this season, but Arteta certainly seems to have the players more focused, united and – crucially – in sync with his plan(s), than Emery ever did.
Let’s not forget the confused gesticulating, shrugging, recriminating and more that went on, in plain sight on match days, in the latter Emery period.

viegunner

sorry, that’s insane. we held on to emery for way too long. whatever the reasons it didn’t work out, we were all screaming for him to be replaced for months. i can’t remember anyone saying we should stick to emery back then, and rightly so.

i like the man but we were no good fit and anyone could see it.

TomH

Wasnt replaced too quickly at all. He had lost the dressing room!
If you lose the dressing room there is no such thing as “too soon” only too late.

Biggles

The frustration with Wenger was that a lot of us, particularly those who attended the games, including me, could see the team’s performances clearly deteriorating over several years with the manager unable to do anything about it. It certainly wasn’t a rush to judgement. With Emery it was rather different in that he faced the inevitable comparison that any new manager does when replacing a long-established one – and it’s never favourable when things don’t work out almost immediately (look at Man Utd). Also, like you I think he simply wasn’t given time, lasting only from May 2018 to November… Read more »

Crash Fistfight

No silly errors in the EL? Did you not watch the last two rounds of the competition?

Crash Fistfight

Actually, I should have said last 3 rounds. Dani Ceballos says hi.

Biggles

Overall though, I don’t think we’re as error prone in the EL. Anyway, whether we are or not, we can’t afford any in the semi-final.

Biggles

P/S Hi, Dani.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Erratic Auba and Laca made him lose his job, punto final.

goongot

Wenger was here for 20+ year while emery was for 2 years, still our team plays as if it played for emery for 2 decades.

Nunya

Emery seems like a really good guy and it’s a shame it didn’t work out.

My biggest complaint though was the football was so stagnant it became boring even when we were winning.

At least with Arteta you can see what he’s trying to achieve even though it’s frustrating

AussieGooner

Can you really see what he is trying to achieve? Can you? Really?

I can’t, He changes it week to week, he doesn’t make subs early enough to make a difference, he doesn’t know his first team, and don’t give me the old rubbish about him choosing different teams to play different teams for “tactics and stuff” because they never really seem to work anyway.

Arteta is a fraud, and it is amazing that everybody doesn’t see that.

He is the worst Manger we have had since Rioch.

Nunya

Being able to see what he’s trying to achieve is not the same as saying he is achieving it. Arteta has cut out the deadwood that was pulling the squad down for several years. He has invested in youth. He has identified the and worked to solve many of the issues we had with defence and midfield. By comparison with Emery, even acknowledging the results aren’t as good, I feel we are making progress. I like Arteta and I think he will take us places. I do however, completely understand why so many people are fed up with him. Guess… Read more »

Tapps

100% this Nunya – nicely written.

Jonny 3 Hats

I disagree but have to agree that he hasn’t proved anything yet. I’m prepared to give him more time because the players issues with this team are substantial and all of the other externalities, Covid, no fans, no money for players, pandemic malaise are all real factors one has to consider. To just sweep those away and pretend they aren’t factors isn’t an objective analysis of his first year and a half. I’m willing to give him another year but understand that results matter more to some people.

Johan Djourou

Rioch wasn’t that bad in terms of final league position achieved, and bedding in DB10 into our club.

El Mintero

Emery was an odd choice but whoever followed Wenger first was always going to fail. Still, I wouldn’t have been too annoyed if they had given him another year to sort the defense out, but not to be and on reflection probably right to cut bait when we did. I think we’ll easily beat Villarreal both home and away. We’ll be up for this and simply put, we have the better team.

Man Manny

“…but whoever followed Wenger first was always going to fail.”
That is not true. Emery was just the wrong manager to follow Arsene.
There are managers out there who would have improved the team tactically and technically.

TomH

Obviously you cant guarantee that, there is a chance that things could have gone swimmingly depending on Wengers successor but replacing a legacy manager who had been in the job 2 decades…Its more than likely the next guy will fail. I expected it 100% although I didnt expect the extent of the collapse.

Public Elneny

I think Emery was left a very ropey squad with many key players from the previous era – Cech, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Sanchez, Walcott, Giroud etc – either recently left/retired, old and declining, busted with injuries, running out of contract, or disillusioned with football/the club. We had to build almost an entire new squad after Wenger left, so I think a drop off was more or less inevitable. Not that I don’t think Emery couldn’t have done better, the collapse in the 2nd half of his time here was terrible and put us in a real funk… Read more »

Man Manny

Do you think if, say, Klopp, Pep, Rogers, Ancelotti or Tuchel had replaced Wenger, they would have done a worse job than his latter days?
I don’t think so.
Firstly, their signings would have been better than Emery’s even with the funds we had.
Secondly, they would have demanded more from the boys.
Man U made the same mistake going for Moyes.
We could have avoided this downward spiral with a better successor – and a better management team I must add.

Jonny 3 Hats

None of those managers would have come to Arsenal at that time. Come back to reality.

Biggles

It’s not a given, but it does happen a lot – particularly if there isn’t an obvious improvement very quickly. The fact is that Emery was given 18 months. Don’t forget that Ferguson was very close indeed to getting the sack at Utd after three years or so in charge. Indeed, there was a banner declaring, “Three years of excuses and it’s still crap … ta-ra Fergie.” displayed regularly at Old Trafford, and many journalists and supporters called for him to be sacked (check it out). At that time, by your measure, he was the “wrong manager” but he went on… Read more »

blink

Good point about Fergie, I think Unai is a good manager but not quite top level.
Premier league is the hardest in the World pretty much all the top managers are already here.
I think Arteta has been unlucky this year with the pandemic, Injuries, individual errors & some games we lost that we were really unlucky.
Next season he will get us higher up the table & the season after that challenging top 4 again imho.
I think he will prove himself to be a top manager given time & the right players.

Graeb

It’s always nice to hear that managers are polite and helpful to each other rather than the antagonistic drivel so often focused on by the media, and online insults.

Tapps

I wonder how ‘polite and helpful’ Mourinho is!

RockyRog58

Welcome back Unai ! A classy guy with honour Hope you lose but personally wish you well

Rich

Emery is a class act, who was treated badly

Slightly overachieved in his first season, and wasn’t given enough time or respect to build a new project

I said when we sacked him he wasn’t our problem

If you have a group of players who down tools on a manager, then you’ve got much bigger problems than the manager

Unless we make some very astute moves and clear out the deadwood, then Arteta will likely be out of a job by December

But that’s unlikely to change very much, other than the name of our manager