Arsenal is warned: the yellow submarine is piloted by an experienced man.
This Thursday, the Villarreal of Unai Emery receives the London club in the semi-final first leg of the Europa League (C3).
A reunion for the Basque, coach of the Gunners in 2018-2019.
The achievement of a record for Emery, who will play his sixth semi-final in this competition.
The last time, it was precisely with Arsenal, club hoisted to the final before losing to Chelsea (1-4) in Baku (Azerbaijan) in 2019.
Unai Emery deserves his status as a specialist in the Europa League.
With Sevilla FC, he became the first coach in history to lift the impressive trophy three times in a row with successes in the final against Benfica (0-0 ap, 4-2 tab) in 2014, Dnipropetrovsk (3- 2) in 2015 and Liverpool (3-1) in 2016. If he failed with Arsenal at this stage, he will seek with Villarreal to win the C3 for the fourth time.
A record that would help him overtake the Italian Giovanni Trapattoni, three times winner with Juventus Turin and Inter Milan.
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Another challenge within Emery's reach: winning the Europa League while remaining undefeated from start to finish.
During his successes with Sevilla, he always let slip at least one game.
In total, play-offs included, Emery has officiated 93 times in C3 - a record - for 59 wins, 21 draws and 13 losses only.
A love affair with this competition started with Valencia (2008-2012), hoisted in the semifinals against the future winner, Atlético de Madrid in 2012 (2-4; 0-1).
In Seville, Unai Emery did not import a particular culture linked to the Europa League.
The Andalusians had already won the trophy twice in 2006 and 2007. But in January 2013, when he took the reins of the club, the Basque recovered a group in “tatters”.
"A very special first victory"
“The two captains did not even speak to each other, he recalled in 2016 during an interview for El Pais, recalling above all the combination of circumstances favorable to the Sevillians. We only qualified through the economic sanctions against Rayo and Malaga. We played two play-offs and won the Europa League. What a godsend! You have to work on the idea of taking advantage of opportunities. "
A course strewn with pitfalls during which Sevilla emerges as the winner of a crazy derby in the round of 16 against Betis (0-2; 2-0 ap, 4-3 tab) or resists the “remountada” of Valencia in the semi -final (2-0; 1-3). “This first victory is very special, he remembered for El Desmarque in May 2020. Above all, the first group match in Estoril (Portugal). There were 4000 Andalusian fans. I understood that day the importance of the European League for the Sevillians. A culture that he has preserved and then passed on to his players. Today, he is still at the top of the pyramid in C3. With Villarreal, in search of his first major trophy in Europe.