Arsenal legend Tony Adams hinted Arsenal may have had a better chance of winning the Premier League last season had Unai Emery been in charge, not Mikel Arteta.
Adams, recognised as one of the club’s greatest-ever defenders, admitted his “love” for the current Arsenal boss, but he also suggested Arteta’s inexperience cost the Gunners amid their title charge.
Arsenal led the Premier League table for much of the way last term, but injuries and a lack of squad depth hindered them down the stretch as Manchester City eventually strolled to their third-straight title. However, Arteta still led the club to their highest-ever points tally since the Invincibles.
Arsenal legend Tony Adams believes Arsenal could’ve won Premier League under Unai Emery last season
Arteta succeeded Emery in north London following Freddie Ljungberg’s interim spell. The current Aston Villa manager lasted just over a year at the club, leading Arsenal to fifth and the Europa League season during his only full season.
However, he was sacked after overseeing a woeful start to the 2019/20 campaign, and Arteta has since led a mightily exciting project which has thrust the Gunners back into contention for the highest honours.
Still, Adams believes Arsenal may have been better off during their title charge last term had Emery been leading the way as opposed to the “inexperienced” Arteta.
“I love him [Arteta]. I love his passion and enthusiasm,” Adams said live on talkSPORT.
“We all make mistakes and aren’t perfect. He perhaps didn’t rotate players early enough last season. People were running out of steam, like Bukayo Saka. I think he’s doing great.
“Last year, weirdly if Unai Emery was our manager then we could have perhaps won the league. I know he didn’t stick around and following Arsene Wenger was difficult, a bit like George Graham being followed by Bruce Rioch.”
The Arsenal legend added that Arteta “missed a few bits” which compromised their challenge, but didn’t dive into what exactly other than a lack of squad rotation – which is a valid point. However, while Emery is doing a remarkable job at Villa Park, it’s unlikely that he would’ve ever overseen a title challenge to the degree Arteta did last season had he been given time to turn things around.
It was his experience in north London and subsequent exit which shaped Emery into the manager he is at Villa.