After the unhappy spell at Arsenal, the Spaniard’s reputation in England has been rehabilitated – the right club at the right time

Some players are better than others. Some managers are better than others. But a lot of the time, success is a matter of contingency, of being the right person for the right job at the right time. It was four years ago last Wednesday that Unai Emery was sacked by Arsenal. As he returned to Spain, there was a widespread feeling that his methods didn’t travel and he was probably best off staying there.

It wasn’t at all an absurd thing to think. He had been sacked by Spartak Moscow in 2012 after a 5-1 home defeat to Dinamo that left them seventh. His time at Paris Saint-Germain had seemed unremarkable, most notable for him being asked to cut the cake two days into Neymar’s extended birthday party – which seemed a clear indication that the egos in the squad still ruled, a situation that culminated in his departure in 2018.

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