Aston Villa vs Arsenal: What did Mikel Arteta say about his opposite number Unai Emery?

Ahead of Arsenal’s eagerly-anticipated Premier League contest, Mikel Arteta was asked about the brilliant run of Aston Villa.

Unai Emery in a file photo; Credit: Twitter/@VillarrealCFen
By Karthik Raman | Dec 9, 2023 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Arsenal travel to Aston Villa for what will undoubtedly be the game of the Premier League weekend. Both teams are performing splendidly this campaign and are not far off in the table. The Gunners are first with 36 points and Villa are third with 32 points. While a lot of people expected Arsenal to play at this level this season, not many predicted Aston Villa’s meteoric rise. They have almost been an unstoppable force this campaign and have done so playing brave attacking football.

Ahead of Arsenal’s eagerly-anticipated Premier League contest, Mikel Arteta was asked about the brilliant run of Aston Villa. “Huge credit to them, huge credit to Unai and the coaching staff for what they’ve done. They’ve turned things around, the way they play, they’re going to be a really tough opponent. It’s a great place to go, one of my favourite grounds, a very English ground and a great atmosphere to play football in, so it’s going to be a big chance for us,” Arteta, quoted by, said.

Mikel Arteta on Unai Emery

When asked whether Unai Emery’s successful spell at Aston Villa so far is a surprise, Arteta responded, “No, I followed him since he was in Almeria. What he’s done for every team has been always remarkable. He always improves the players, the team, the club and he’s Basque, like I am, and he’s a manager that I really admire for what he’s done in the game. He’s done it in various countries at different levels and has always been successful, so I’m really happy for him.”

Aston Villa are entering this game on the back of registering a stunning 1-0 win over defending champions Manchester City in midweek. Reacting to that result, Arteta said, “Tactically they are really well set up, they do two or three different things, they are really brave to play from the back. They really attack you because they have players between the lines that they can really hurt you; they have players in open spaces that are constantly threatening you. But not only that, the spirit that they have created, the atmosphere, the intensity, and the belief that they have at the moment that they can go on and beat anybody.”

Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya has been criticised recently by pundits for some of the mistakes he made. Coming to his defence, Arteta said, “Look at his form and what he has achieved since he’s been with us, it’s really impressive, but what can I say? I have three great goalkeepers. I’m really happy I have great wingers, some of them are on the bench, but the questions are not related to them and we have to accept that. As well we have to support our players in the best possible way, we have to protect them and we have to get the best out of them. I would focus much more on that. Every player needs the right support and love and they deserve that.”

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