For Arsenal to advance to this year’s Europa League Final, they must do what has only happened once to Unai Emery in 5 occasions, beat him in a European Semi Final.
Atlético Madrid 4-2 Valencia
Valencia 0-1 Atlético Madrid
Unai Emery did great work at Valencia at a time the club were struggling in debt. For years he kept them competitive, taking them back into the Champions League despite having to sell the likes of David Villa, Juan Mata and David Silva.
With Valencia cemented in third in the table, the pressure was on Atletico Madrid, they needed to lift the trophy to qualify for the CL. In the same year he got to the last 4 of the Copa Del Rey, this was a so near yet so far season.
Sevilla 2-0 Valencia
Valencia 3-1 Sevilla (win on away goals)
His first season at Sevilla parallels his debut campaign at Villarreal. Like now he had to knock out his former employers to get to a final. Like now he also won the first leg. Like we have to do, Valencia had to fightback in the second leg and were seconds away from completing their comeback till Sevilla got an away goal with seconds left.
Sevilla 3-0 Fiorentina
Fiorentina 0-2 Sevilla
Like now Unai Emery had the pressure of knowing the Europa League was his only route to qualifying for the Champions League. Like last week, the pressure didn’t affect his team, as Sevilla won both games against the Italians comfortably
Shakhtar Donetsk 2-2 Sevilla
Sevilla 3-1 Shakhtar Donetsk
Emery and Sevilla became the first manager and club to win three consecutive UEFA Cups/Europa Leagues. The pressure was huge on Emery.
Struggling in La Liga (they finished 7th) retaining their trophy was again their only route into the Champions League. They would beat Liverpool in the Final.
Incredibly they had qualified for the CL despite not winning once away from home in Spain that season.
Arsenal 3-1 Valencia
Valencia 2-4 Arsenal
For the second time Emery had to knock out his former employers to advance to the final, ironically against the only club he failed in the semi-finals with.
Originally a goal down at the Emirates a late Aubameyang goal gave us a two-goal margin to take to Spain. Auba scored a hat trick in the Mestalla.
So Emery has proven he can handle the pressure of having to win the Europa to qualify for the CL, twice doing that for Sevilla.
This will be the third time he meets a former employer in the semi-final, having twice knocked out Valencia. This will be the third time he meets English opposition in this competition, having knocked out Stoke and Liverpool in previous years.
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