• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Arsenal vs Aston Villa: Can Gunners spoil Lions Champions League ambition?


Mikel Arteta Arsenal side welcome Aston Villa and former boss Unai Emery to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday in a crucial Premier League clash as the Gunners look to maintain momentum at the top of the table and also dent Villa’s pursuit of Champions League qualification.

Following Manchester City’s surge to the top of the title race on Saturday, Arsenal have the opportunity to reclaim the Premier League top spot with a victory at home today.

On the other hand, Emery’s Villa side relinquished their grip on the top four after a draw against Brentford last Saturday. However, they maintain an 11-point cushion over sixth-placed Manchester United.

Arteta acknowledges the significant impact Emery has had on Villa since his return to the Premier League, contrasting with his underwhelming stint at Arsenal. Emery’s tenure at the Emirates was curtailed in 2019, but he resurrected his career at Villarreal before rejuvenating Villa into top-four contenders following his arrival in 2022.

Ahead of Emery’s milestone 1,000th managerial game, Arteta commended his counterpart’s achievements and expressed admiration for his success across various leagues and countries.

“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 told reporters on Friday.

“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 impressive.”

Nonetheless, Arteta remains focused on securing a crucial victory as Arsenal aims for their first league title since 2004.

With seven Premier League games left, Arteta could finish the season with a remarkable English title and Champions League double.

Asked if he is relishing the opportunity, Arteta said: “For sure because we can be in the semi-finals of the Champions League and top of the Premier League 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.”

As they juggle domestic and European ambitions, Arsenal are determined to clinch a coveted place in the Champions League semi-finals and maintain their pole position in the Premier League standings.