While Arsenal continue to struggle under the management of Mikel Arteta, things could not be going much better for his predecessor Unai Emery.
The Spaniard was unceremoniously sacked just over 12 months ago with the Gunners eight points adrift of the top four and in the midst of a seven-game winless run which culminated in a Europa League defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt at the Emirates Stadium.
Emery had taken Arsenal to the final of a European competition less than six months earlier and missed out on Champions League qualification by just a solitary point after his sole full season at the helm.
His lack of English, struggle to unite a fractured dressing room and a rigid, often dour playing style, ultimately undid the promising start he made to replacing Arsene Wenger and Emery paid the price midway through last season.
The former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla coach has set about rebuilding his reputation back in the more familiar climes of La Liga and after last night’s 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao, his Villarreal team are now a club-record 19 games unbeaten in all competitions.
The Yellow Submarine are currently fourth in the Spanish league table and safely through to the knockout stages of the Europa League where they are due to face RB Sazlburg in the round of the last 32.
Meanwhile, Arteta is battling to save his job following a spectacular downturn in results which has left the Gunners in the midst of a relegation battle.
The former Arsenal midfielder’s misery was compounded by a 4-1 defeat in last night’s Carabao Cup quarter-final against Manchester City, but his former mentor Pep Guardiola insists the north London club would be guilty of making a big mistake should they part company with Arteta.
‘They will do a huge, big mistake if they… I’m pretty sure they are going to trust him,’ Guardiola told the BBC.
‘I understand for the analysts, analyse the results. But I was with him many years and I know his incredible quality as a human being and especially as a manager, how he is involved in everything. It’s just a question of time and he will do well.
‘I’m not on the board. For me they will do a big mistake if they are thinking… They give him the confidence, they won two titles when for a long time ago it didn’t happen at this club. In this pandemic situation, with injury problems they have and the games they played always they played good.
‘But unfortunately these games is our job and it depends on the results. But football changes in one week so quick.
‘I can speak about my experience alongside him, one of the most incredible successful teams in English history we had and he was part of this success and it would not be possible without him, and to create something like this you need time like I had in my first season.’
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