Saturday, May 25, 2024

Arteta hails ‘unbelievable’ Emery, says Arsenal prepped for Villa ‘danger’

Mikel Arteta has paid tribute to Unai Emery after his predecessor oversaw his 1,000th match as a coach when Aston Villa beat Lille 2-1 in the Uefa Conference League on Thursday night.

Villa have been this season’s surprise package under Emery’s stewardship and remain a decent bet to finish in the top four for the first time since 1995/96.

With a European trophy up for grabs and the potential to qualify for the Champions League even if they finish fifth, Arteta has been impressed by how quickly his countryman has made an impact.

Facing the media ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Villa, Arteta was asked about Emery’s track record, which includes nine different clubs, four countries and 78 games in the Arsenal hot seat.

“Unbelievable. And he’s done it in so many different countries, in so many different contexts and he’s been incredibly successful,” said Arteta. 

“Obviously, he’s [from] very close to my hometown. I have huge admiration for him and his respect. I wish him the best after Sunday, but what he’s doing again, I think it’s really impressive.

While Villa’s form in the league has been erratic of late – they’ve won only once in the last five – there’s no doubt they are a very solid outfit and pose a big obstacle to the Gunners’ title ambitions.

“What they have done since Unai came in, he has made a huge impact at the club in terms of performances and consistency, it’s unbelievable what they are doing.

“They are still in European competition, they played last night, and I’m really impressed with what they have done.”

In a boost for Arsenal, Villa will be without influential midfielder Douglas Luiz who is suspended after picking up his 10th yellow card of the season. There are also doubts over the fitness of Tyrone Mings and Boubacar Kamara and the suspicion that Emery might be tempted to rotate.

“We always try to use things to our advantage,” said Arteta of missing players.

At the same time, he admits it’s difficult trying to second-guess Villa’s lineup: “We don’t know what they are going to do and there is nothing that we can control.

“They still won last night and they are a really, really good side. We know the danger and we know our strengths as well and try to do what we have to do to win it.”

Arsenal are top of the table at the moment but could be down to third by kick-off on Sunday. It underlines how tight things are at the top with just seven matches remaining.

“We will know the results but we’ll still have our duty to win our game which is the only thing that we can control,” said Arteta.

“That’s happened a few times already and it’s going to happen again in the next few weeks, so we’ll just focus on what we can do, what we can control and make sure that we perform like we have to do against a really good side to try to beat them.”

“Every game is going to define what our future looks like,” he added.

“The only thing possible is to look at one day and one game. It’s the only thing that is possible because it’s the only thing that maintains your focus and determine the tasks that you have to do on the day, which is the only thing that you can control.

Asked how difficult that is, he cited a recent example of how quickly he moves from one challenge to the next.

“It’s the job. 15 minutes after we finished against Luton I was watching Brighton in my office in the stadium. And it’s like this because you don’t have time, you have to prepare and you’re on to the next one.”

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Bruce

Win win win

BillyKrystal

Classic Basquetball game.

Dinosauras

Maybe how Emery prefers to play, but Arteta this year has been all about control (dominance) where as basquet…ball…is all about. Oh I see now.

A Different George

Villa’s result in the Conference League was close to ideal for us. A narrow victory at home and the prospect of a difficult away match in France means Emery must have one eye on the mid-week. He is a coach who cares about about those competitions, as his record in the Europa League shows. Obviously he isn’t going to start a weak team against us, but if we score early and look good, he may well decide that playing cautiously and hoping for the best while withdrawing his most important players makes sense. But, you know, football.

C.B.

I guess Emery has learnt to speak English properly now.

Daveo

How’s your Basque, Spanish, AND French by comparison I’m wondering?

C.B.

Don’t speak any of them, lucky I’m not a football manager in those countries! Emery struggled with English when he was our manager which can’t have helped our team. Contrast that with Mikel, language and performance….

A Different George

For what it’s worth, Arteta has worked full time in Britain, as player or coach, since he was 20 years old, while Arsenal was Emery’s first job in an English-speaking country. By the way, do you remember that French guy with the accent that Arsenal hired in the ’90’s?

C.B.

So we agree Emery’s English wasn’t great and has probably improved. Which is my original point that everyone disagrees with…

C.B.

I stand corrected, Emery did a great job as our manager helped by his strong English language skills. Strange he was sacked.

Igors Stephanovs

Hopefully we can wrap up villa at halftime sub Rice, Martin, Big Gabi and saka, start watching bayern, let Airpod Albert take over;

Harding

Cowardly lineup like they played vs City?

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