06 December 2019 11:25
The Spaniard took his first steps after undergoing knee surgery in January. Bellerin suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in the 2-0 win over Chelsea. The right-back underwent surgery in Spain and is now on the road to recovery as he looks to get fit for the start of next season. And this afternoon he took his first steps after his operation with the aid of crutches. Arsenal put up a dazzling performance to overturn a two-goal deficit and progressed to the Europa League quarter-final against Ligue 1 club, Rennes at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night.
The Gunners pulled one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the Europa League beating Rennes 3-0 in London to march on to the last eight on 4-3 aggregate. A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang brace and a goal from Maitland-Niles saw the Gunners become the second team to progress to the Europa League quarter-final after losing the first leg by 3-1. Since the change from Europa Cup to the Europa League in 2009-2010 season, only Fulham has progressed to the quarter-final stage after losing 3-1. They lost to Juventus at Turin in the knock out stage 2009-2010 season but ended up defeating Juve, 4-1 at the Craven Cottage, a feat Arsenal repeated against Rennes on Thursday to join Chelsea who had earlier booked their place in the last eight. Aubameyang has now scored six braces in all competitions this season, more than any other Premier League player in the 2018-19 campaign.
Earlier finishing in the top four was just a formality, now it is way more than that. With every season, the league is becoming more and more competitive. Millions of pounds are spent on recruiting world-class players from all over Europe. Amidst all this money game, there is Unai Emery who has not spent as much as the other managers in the top six, yet his Arsenal side sit fourth, a point below Tottenham Hotspur. The Most Underappreciated Manager in the Premier League Emery Revolution At Arsenal At the start of the season, there were two new faces in the potential top six that were starting their journey as a Premier League manager. The high-profile Italian manager was known for his footballing style – 'Sarriball' which was quite a hit in Naples. The Italian had a busy transfer market where he spent millions on recruiting world-class players. Chelsea were still in good shape when the 65-year-old took over. On the other hand, the second new face was Spanish manager Unai Emery. The former Sevilla boss was chosen to be the heir of Arsene Wenger at the Emirates. Arsenal were in a complete mess when Emery took over. Emery lost his first two games in the Premier League to Manchester City and Chelsea while the other managers had a great start to their Premier League campaign. Today, Sarri even after spending millions is struggling with Chelsea whereas the underrated Unai Emery sits fourth, just a point below Spurs. The job Unai Emery has done at Arsenal is simply tremendous. Unbeaten in last five games, Emery has already beaten the likes of Chelsea, Spurs and Manchester United in his first season in charge at Arsenal. Last season, Arsenal were quite miserable while playing against the fellow members of the top six. This season, the team looks more solid and confident under the Spanish manager. With eight games to go, Arsenal are quite likely to finish in third as they have considerably easier fixtures as compared to the other three fighting for the top four. Coming into Arsenal, Emery spent just €79 million, €1 million less than Chelsea spent on its keeper alone. The quality of football Arsenal are playing today is quite outstanding. The team looks a bit more consistent than it was under Arsene Wenger in the last few years of his reign. The former Paris Saint-Germain manager has still a lot of work to do with Arsenal. But, it seems like the team is moving in the right path. At the start of the season, not a lot people expected Arsenal to finish in the top four. Today, the scenario is quite different. Taking over Arsenal when the team was such a mess and managing to finish in the top-four is quite remarkable. There are still a lot of problems going on inside the Arsenal team. But Unai Emery is a very intelligent manager. Even after having constant defensive injuries in the team, the Spanish manager has done a great job with his other veteran defenders. Arsenal might not have the best of defences in the league but its improving day-by-day. In the Premier League where the fans appreciate the work done by Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, Mauricio Pochettino and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Unai Emery is still quite underappreciated for his works. He might not be famous for his world-class tactics like the other managers out there. But, he has got world-class managerial skills which make him one of the best managers in the world. Not to forget, he has won the Europa League three times in a row with Sevilla. Emery is perfect for Arsenal in order to take the team back to its glory days.