It’s time for some real talk about Unai Emery. I think he’s gotten a raw deal from Arsenal supporters. In his press conference ahead of the Arsenal-Villareal Europa League semifinal, he said some very nice things about the club. There was a pointed comment or two about “having patience” with managers and their process but other than that, he was complimentary of the club and the players.
Emery caught a lot of flack for his time in North London, from myself and this site included. I did my best to limit my derision to his football-specific struggles — that he didn’t seem to have a good plan, that his teams weren’t generating enough on the pitch, etc. There have been plenty of people who have gone far, far beyond the pale in their mockery.
He wasn’t the right manager for Arsenal, but then again, was anybody going to be the “right” manager to immediately follow Arsene Wenger? Emery was in a tough position. Add to that the reported language barrier and the resultant communication issues, and you’ve got a recipe for, well, exactly how things went.
That’s not to say he isn’t a good manager! He’s had tremendous success in the Europa League, and his La Liga teams have consistently exceeded expectations. And he seems like a decent chap to boot.
If I were in attendance at the Emirates next week, I’d politely welcome him back with a round of applause. He did his best for my club, and that’s good enough for me.