The Spanish manager was widely criticized and even ridiculed during his time in the English Premier League, almost single-handedly getting the blame for everything that was wrong at Arsenal. But now, back in Spain, Unai Emery is finding his stride again and proving why he was once one of the most promising managers in the European football.
When Arsenal sacked Spanish manager Unai Emery, the general consensus was that the former PSG and Sevilla coach was the one holding the Gunners back with his bizarre tactical decisions and for not getting the most out of the current squad. This was even more emphasized when the current Arsenal manager, former player Mikel Arteta, managed to win an FA Cup with the same team and reportedly united the dressing room. In short, after failed stints at PSG and Arsenal, Emery was viewed as an underwhelming manager that didn’t know what he was doing in those clubs.
Nowadays, Emery is challenging the top spots in La Liga with a humble team like Villarreal and Arsenal are performing even worse under Mikel Arteta, having poorer results than what got Emery ultimately sacked.
While there are many valid reasons to justify Emery getting sacked at Arsenal and that he is better-suited to run smaller teams, there’s no denying that the former Sevilla manager got a ton of unjustified criticism and even downright mockery because of small things such as him not being the most gifted speaker in press conferences and because he had a funny accent when speaking in English. Because he wasn’t the most cunning when it came to the PR stuff, Unai Emery often got the most stick, especially compared to an underwhelming manager such as Arteta, who is more gifted at handling the press.
But at the end of the day, football is a game of tactics, man-management and motivation rather than PR stuff. And his good work at Villarreal so far is proving that notion to the point that some Arsenal fans might be having some second thoughts about what went wrong in his tenure and who might be responsible for the club’s decline in recent years. Unai Emery is slowly going back to what made him such a big success at Sevilla and Spanish football is a little bit happier because of that.