Arteta Ready To Match Wits With Emery In Key Tie

(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Mikel Arteta will put his admiration for the“unbelievable” Unai Emery on hold this weekend as the Arsenal manager aims for a crucial win against Aston Villa. Arteta has been impressed by the impact Emery has made on Villa since his return to the PremierLeague
after a disappointing spell in charge of Arsenal.
Emery was sacked by the Gunners in 2019, less than one and a half seasons into his reign at the Emirates Stadium. But the 52-year-old rebuilt his career at Villarreal and has transformed Villa into top four contenders following his 2022 move to midlands.
Emery celebrated his 1,000th game in management with a 2-1 Europa Conference League quarter-final first leg win over Lille on Thursday.“Unai's had such a big impact at the club in terms of performances and consistency. It is unbelievable what he is doing in European competition and I'm impressed,” Arteta said.
“He's unbelievable and he's done it in so many different countries and he's been incredibly successful. He's close to my home town and I have huge admiration for him and I wish him the best after Sunday. What he's doing is really impressive.”
While Arteta respects the work done by his fellow Spaniard, he can't afford to lay out the welcome mat when Villa visit north London tomorrow. Arsenal go into this weekend on top of the PremierLeague
, but they could be in third place by kick off against Villa. Second placed Liverpool, behind Arsenal on goal difference, and third placed Manchester City, one point adrift of the leaders, are at home to Crystal Palace and Luton respectively.
Arsenal have to focus on their bid for a first English title since 2004 on the back of a frustrating 2-2 draw with Bayern Munich in Tuesday's ChampionsLeague
quarter-final first leg. Arteta's men needed a late equaliser from Leandro Trossard to keep the tie delicately balanced ahead of Wednesday's second leg in Munich.
Arteta admitted his players' emotions were running high during Arsenal's first ChampionsLeague
quarter-final since 2010.“There was a lot to take from the game and especially how we managed emotionally,” he said.“We were very dominant and ahead and in 15 minutes we were behind a top side and had to deal with that emotionally, which is really tough to do and I think the team did brilliantly to manage that situation.”
With seven PremierLeague
games left, Arteta could finish the season with a remarkable English title and ChampionsLeague
double. Asked if he is relishing the opportunity, Arteta said:“For sure because we can be in the semi-finals of the ChampionsLeague
and top of the PremierLeague
so every game is going to define what our future looks like. We are super excited about what we are doing, the way the team is performing, winning matches, they want more.”
Postecoglou warns Spurs to beware Newcastle example
Ange Postecoglou has warned Tottenham's hierarchy Newcastle should serve as a cautionary tale for the dangers of failing to build a squad capable of coping with a ChampionsLeague
campaign. Postecoglou's side travel to Newcastle today looking to cement their grip on fourth place in the PremierLeague
Tottenham are in position to qualify for next season's ChampionsLeague
after they moved ahead of Aston Villa on goal difference last weekend. Last season it was Newcastle who celebrated ChampionsLeague
qualification, but that achievement has been followed by a disappointing campaign for the Magpies, who are eighth in the PremierLeague
Newcastle failed to make it out of a tricky ChampionsLeague
group as demands of playing in four competitions led to an injury-plagued campaign for Eddie Howe's side.“Certainly there is a cautionary tale there that getting into ChampionsLeague
also means greater demands,” Postecoglou said.“Demands on players, demands on the squad and you have to be geared up for it or else it can affect all parts of your season. It has been tough on Newcastle this year because the progress last year was fantastic, the reward for that was ChampionsLeague
and this year for whatever reason it has made it a really challenging season on all fronts for them.”
Tottenham will be making their first return to St James' Park since last season's 6-1 hammering, which proved to be the nadir of a dismal campaign that led to Postecoglou's arrival from Celtic in the close-season. The Australian did not watch that fixture back, but he did reflect on the importance of Tottenham's 4-1 victory over Newcastle in December.
Fixtures (all times GMT)
Saturday (1400 unless stated): Newcastle v Tottenham (1130), Brentford v Sheffield United, Burnley v Brighton, Manchester City v Luton, Nottingham Forest v Wolves, Bournemouth v Manchester United (1630)
Sunday (1300 unless stated): Liverpool v Crystal Palace, West Ham v Fulham, Arsenal v Aston Villa (1530)
Monday : Chelsea v Everton (1900)


Gulf Times

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