Unai Emery has heaped praise on Mikel Arteta for the work he has done during his time as Arsenal boss, but believes that he would have taken the Gunners back up the table too had he got more time.
Emery was speaking to The Times as Aston Villa continue to make a brilliant start to the season. The Villans will go within two points of the Premier League summit should they beat West Ham on Sunday.
Unai Emery has certainly shut up a lot of doubters with his work at Villa Park. And another manager who knows what that is like is Mikel Arteta.
Arteta was appointed by Arsenal after they made the decision to sack Emery in 2019. At the time of the Spaniard’s dismissal, the Gunners were eight points off the top four. And it was very hard to argue that they were moving in the right direction.
Unai Emery praises the job Mikel Arteta has done at Arsenal
Of course, it is hard to not look at Arteta’s tenure and believe that it was inspired to give him the job. Arsenal won the FA Cup in his first few months in charge. And they look set to launch their second consecutive title challenge this year in the Premier League.
Emery has praised Arteta for the job he has done at the Emirates. And he admitted that he understood why he was dismissed. But he suggested that the role was going to take time whoever was in charge.
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“Arsenal was difficult to arrive at after Wenger. What was needed was a process. The supporters respected me a lot and I was frustrated because I was thinking, ‘I can do it, but I need time’,” he told The Times.
“But I understand always football. I understand always my position as a coach. You have to win. You convince by winning. The work [Mikel] Arteta is doing there now is brilliant and he’s doing more or less everything I was thinking needed to be done there. And now history is different. I am here. I have my challenge here. And Aston Villa is an amazing club.”
Gunners probably faced difficult few years whoever was in charge
In fairness to Emery, the last few years certainly back up what he is suggesting. He has proved what a brilliant coach he is in the Premier League with the job he has done at Villa.
Meanwhile, Arteta appeared, from the outside, to be on the brink of getting the sack on a couple of occasions before turning things around. Certainly, few Arsenal fans anticipated that they would come so close to ending their wait for a title under his leadership.
Emery’s comments do make you wonder what would have happened had he got more time. But neither Aston Villa or Arsenal fans will be disappointed with how events have played out since.