Unai Emery was asked his opinion on Mikel Arteta‘s team selection for Arsenal in last night’s Europa League semi-final clash, and he defended his counterpart.
There was a lot of focus on the two managers in the build-up to the clash, but whilst the fans have manufactured some sort of rivalry between the pair, the reality couldn’t be much further from the truth.
Both Arteta and Emery have been fully respectable about each other, and the latter’s post-match comments were also of the same nature.
The Arsenal boss named his starting XI without a single natural striker, with Emile Smith Rowe being utilised as a makeshift false-nine from kick-off, before Gabriel Martinelli and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came off the bench in the second-half.
Emery insists that there was no shocks on his part when seeing his rival’s setup, with the knowledge that both Alexandre Lacazette and Aubameyang had both been suffering in the build-up.
“I’m nobody to question Mikel Arteta’s decision, we had the idea that it would approximately be this line up,” said Emery after the final whistle(via the Mirror).
“They had several injured players, Aubameyang hadn’t played for a while, I think it’s normal. The first [starting] XI was more or less what we expected.”
Was anyone that shocked with the team selection given the importance of the tie? Has Martinelli showed enough in the first-team this season when given the chance or are people living off the memories of his debut season still?