Europa League: Unai Emery name-checks 11 Arsenal players ahead of semi-final

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Villarreal manager, Unai Emery, has given kudos to  some of the players whom he worked with during his stay with Arsenal.

The Spaniard is preparing his side to face the Gunners in the Europa League semi-final.

Emery spent 18 months at Arsenal, before being fired in November 2019 and replaced by Mikel Arteta.

Having taken over at Villarreal last summer, Emery is bidding to take the club to their first major final at the expense of his former employees.

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He told UEFA:

“Saka made his debut on 1 January [2019] against Fulham, which I remember we won 4-1. I think it kicked off at 12:30pm, and he played the last eight to 10 minutes and didn’t touch the ball. Now he’s establishing himself at a high level.

“Many of the players I coached are still there. I have fond memories of them: Hector Bellerin, Chambers, Holding: exceptional guys; Elneny, who is an extraordinary player and an extraordinary person.

“They have Lacazette, Aubameyang, Martinelli, who is becoming more important now after a serious injury.

“Pepe is also an important player, who I think is settling and getting more and more confident.

“Then you have the younger players such as Smith Rowe. Smith Rowe played the pre-season with us at the age of 17, and he has gradually grown after loan spells away.

“You also have Leno, who is a great goalkeeper and good with his feet. He has significant experience.”

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