Unai Emery has suggested that current Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is bringing back the club’s “tradition” by playing attractive football.
Arteta replaced Emery as Arsenal manager in December 2019. Since taking over, he has won the FA Cup and he has guided them to this season’s Europa League semi-finals.
The Gunners will face Villarreal in the last four of the competition. The Spanish outfit are managed by Emery, who took over in June 2020.
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Speaking ahead of that game, as cited by Football London, Emery insisted that it is a “good marriage” between Arteta and the Gunners:
“Mikel 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.
“He had his time [playing] there with Arsene Wenger so I’m sure he can apply everything he learned. I think it’s a good marriage: Arteta-Arsenal, Arsenal-Arteta.”
Emery’s Villarreal host Arsenal in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday. The former Gunners boss also said that the tie will be full of tension.
“When Arsenal are in form, they are a top team,” Emery said. “We’ve seen that this season. But so are we when we find our form.
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“So in terms of confidence, the demands, the respect we have for the opponent, this semi-final will be full of tension and both teams will do their utmost to get through, which is what makes this competition such a great one.
“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.
“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.”