With Arsenal’s success in the Europa League, reaching the semi-finals for the second successive season for the first time in a European competition in a quarter of a century, Gunners boss Unai Emery in his inaugural campaign in north London has extended his amazing record in the competition.
The Spaniard has now reached the semi-finals of the Europa League for the fifth time, obliterating the records of nearest contenders Jorge Jesus with Primeira Liga side Benfica and Rafael Benitez at the helm of Valencia, Liverpool, and Chelsea who can each boast three.
Emery followed the latter gaffer’s lead to become the fifth manager at the time to win the UEFA Cup/Europa League more than once, with three of those occasions - between 2014 and 2016 - his side going on to lift the trophy.
Arsenal’s opponents in the Last-Four this year, Valencia, are making their first European semi-final appearance in five years since 2013/14, when they reached the same stage of this competition before being eliminated by a Sevilla side. Sevilla’s manager at the time? One Unai Emery, on course for the first of his treble of trophies with ‘los Hispalenses’.
The 47-year-old has overseen 81 matches in the Europa League and its previous incarnation, and has won 46 of them, a 57% win percentage. This is a better record than the only man he shares the illustrious triple, Giovanni Trappatoni, who won three with Serie A outfits Internazionale and Juventus over a 16-year period.
At Sevilla Emery lost just five games in the Europa League; two coming in the group stages and the remaining ultimately overturned on aggregate.
However, upon his meeting with a familiar foe, Emery is coming up against a formidable opponent with an impressive record of his own. Valencia boss Marcelino García Toral - who was a predecessor of Emery at Sevilla - has tasted defeat just once in his last 19 games in the Europa League.
The first leg of Arsenal versus Valencia takes place at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday 2nd May at 20:00 (GMT). The second leg at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium is scheduled for Thursday 9th May at the same time.