Whatever the result this evening in the game between Arsenal and Newcastle there is one thing we can be sure of and that is that there will be no bust-up between the managers, no pushing and shoving, no pizzas being thrown, just admiration and respect.
Both our manager Unai Emery and the Newcastle gaffer Rafa Benitez have had nothing but positive things to say about each other and it is clear that there is a lot of mutual respect.
Emery on Benitez
‘I respect him a lot, because he is a very good coach and has a lot of experience and a lot of titles,’ said Emery.
‘Here in England, he has more experience than me. It is a big reference for us, for me, as a coach, his work and his courage.’
For his part, Benitez has just as much praise for his fellow countryman as Emery as for him.
Benitez on Emery
“I know Unai quite well, and I think he’s doing quite well. I think he’s trying to change things a little bit, but still keeping the style that they were playing before,” Benitez said.
“I think in the beginning he was fine, then they had a few problems, but not I think they are doing well, especially at home.
“They have good players, they have a good manager, and so I think they have not the confidence that they are progressing. He is doing well.
“No, I don’t think so [that it was always going to be impossible to replace Wenger], because Unai is doing a good job. Obviously it depends on the targets that they have, but he is doing OK.
“I think every year he will be better because he will talk better English, he will know the league much better, he will know his own players, so I think he’s doing well.
“Obviously Arsene Wenger is a great manager, he did really well, but I think Unai can do well.”
The chances are that these two know each others game inside out, not sure if that is a positive or negative for us, it could be a positive in that Emery will know what to expect from Benitez and his tactical nous, however, it could be a negative in that that works in the opposite way as well.
Obviously, both managers will be very competitive, passionate and animated on the sidelines, this game is important to both sides, Newcastle are most likely safe but not completely and Benitez knows one defeat can set off a spiral of bad results.
For us, we now know what a win means, it means we go third and Emery absolutely knows this is not an opportunity to be missed. You can have as much respect as you like, but once the whistle blows, the gloves are off!