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‘Ask a lot of us’ Arsenal boss Unai Emery speaks glowingly of Aston Villa


Unai Emery knows Dean Smith relatively well – after the Aston Villa boss studied the Spaniard during his successful reign at Valencia.

The pair also came toe-to-toe twice previously, in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Arsenal‘s training ground before meeting each other in the League Cup 12 months ago.

In today’s programme notes, Emery said of the challenge facing his Arsenal players: “We are going to prepare for the Aston Villa match with our personality and by using the best players to improve our ideas.

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Unai Emery, manager of Arsenal

“I am sure it’s going to be a different match [to Frankfurt], and also Aston Villa will ask a lot of us defensively and offensively. But I think we have these defensive and offensive options to use in each moment.”

On Friday, Smith said of Emery: “I did my pro licence and went to do a study visit at Valencia when he was there. Our sporting director, Suso, has worked with him at Valencia as well.

“We also played Arsenal at Brentford in pre-season and then drew them in the cup last year. I have had good games against him already. He has a wealth of experience at the top level with the likes of Valencia, PSG and now Arsenal. It will be another chess match this weekend.

 

​”​He was very open, very down to earth and humble. I enjoyed the time over at Valencia but also the time we played Arsenal last year and I had a chat with him, Steve Bould and the goalkeeper coach. There are a few connections there.​”

Smith added: “People are always looking and comparing, whether it is Sir Alex or Arsene Wenger. They just have to be themselves and go in and do the job. I think Unai has done that very well. They got to the Europa League final last year and got beat. They had a very good result at Frankfurt on Thursday as well.​ ​We don’t fear them but we have full respect for them.​”​



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