Arsenal fans were slightly worried going into last night’s game against Slavia Prague. The Czech giants had a small advantage from the first leg, and it would’ve been typical of the Gunners to have not turned up.
Thankfully, it was the complete opposite. Arsenal absolutely battered Slavia in their own backyard. We smashed four past them and booked a place in the semi-finals of the Europa League.
Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery’s Villarreal are up next.
The Spaniard is the Europa League’s greatest ever manager. He has won three titles and has a runners-up medal as well. He hasn’t lose a single knockout stage game in the competition since 2012, and his side may well go into the game as the favourites.
Mikel Arteta was asked about the clash with his predecessor. The Arsenal boss acknowledged Emery’s previous accomplishments in the competition and admitted that it would be a very difficult game for his side.
He said, as per Arsenal.com: “It will be a tough game. Villarreal are a tough side and Unai Emery is the most successful manager in this competition. We’re going to enjoy tonight and we know we’re going to have time to prepare for that one.”
The Insider’s View:
It would really hurt to lose to Emery.
No offence to the Spaniard, he did his best for Arsenal in his 18 months here. Things just didn’t work out for him at the Emirates and we’re all glad that he is back doing what he loves at Villarreal.
However, we have to be as ruthless as we were last night. If Villarreal knock us out in the next round, we will never hear the end of it – even if Emery’s men go on and lose the final.
Arsenal players know just how important the Europa League is for us this season. Their attitude last night showed how much they want it and hopefully, they can come out the same way against their former boss in a couple of weeks time.