“I was the coach that made him a big player when i was at Arsenal and i have my own unique way to stop him. Not even Pep can stop him”- Arsenal former Manager Unai Emery sends ‘a huge message’ to Bukayo Saka ahead of Arsenal showdown against Aston Villa this evening
Unai Emery, the esteemed Spanish coach, is not only gearing up for a pivotal clash with Arsenal in Saturday’s Premier League summit but is also expressing his delight at witnessing the flourishing career of the Gunners’ star, Bukayo Saka. Emery, who has successfully revitalized his coaching journey at Villa Park after a somewhat disheartening tenure in north London over four years ago, is set to renew acquaintances with Saka in what promises to be an enthralling encounter.
Having initially bounced back into the managerial scene with Villarreal, securing another Europa League triumph to embellish his already impressive resume, Emery’s most significant resurgence has unfolded with the rejuvenated Midlands club, marked notably by their recent triumph over Manchester City on Wednesday.
Crucial to thwarting Arsenal’s momentum in this impending clash is the challenge of neutralizing the formidable threat posed by Saka, who has unequivocally established himself as one of the most potent wingers in European football. Despite his youthful origins, the 22-year-old recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of his Arsenal debut, marking his 200th appearance for the club in a thrilling 4-3 victory against Luton on Tuesday.
Saka’s evolution from a shy, skinny teenager making his debut under Emery to a seasoned and impactful player has not surprised the Spanish coach. Emery, during his pre-match press conference, acknowledged the crucial role of Arsenal’s academy coaches in Saka’s development, emphasizing that his contribution also played a part. Expressing his joy for the player, Emery lauded Saka’s skills and humility.
The mutual respect between Emery and his Arsenal successor, Mikel Arteta, remains palpable. Arteta, currently at the helm of the Gunners, holds Emery in high regard, tracing his admiration for the Spanish manager back to his time with Almeria. Arteta commends Emery’s consistent ability to enhance players, teams, and clubs across various countries and levels. Notably, the shared Basque heritage further deepens the bond between the two managers, with Arteta expressing genuine happiness for Emery’s success in the game. As the stage is set for the showdown, the camaraderie and admiration between Emery and Arteta add an extra layer of intrigue to the upcoming clash.