HomeFootball NewsAston Villa's Emery is the Premier League's third-best manager, claims Carragher

Aston Villa’s Emery is the Premier League’s third-best manager, claims Carragher

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Aston Villa boss Unai Emery might just be the third-best coach in the Premier League, behind only Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola and Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp.

That is the view of former Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher, who believes Villa’s Europa Conference League commitments could be the only thing to hold them back this season.

Villa moved within one point of the Premier League’s top four with a 3-1 home win over Fulham on Sunday, with John McGinn and Ollie Watkins on target for Emery’s men after Fulham’s Antonee Robinson put through his own net for their opener.

Villa have now won each of their last 13 home league games, their longest such run in the top flight since they managed an identical winning streak back in 1983.

Emery has also overseen 14 home wins in the Premier League in 2023, as many as Villa managed in the two previous calendar years combined.

Speaking in his role as a pundit with Sky Sports after Villa’s latest triumph, Carragher made the argument that Emery should be considered one of the Premier League’s elite bosses.

“You can make an argument that Unai Emery is the third-best manager in this Premier League,” Carragher said.

“You’ve probably got Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, they are Champions League winners.

“But when you look at the body of work of Unai Emery, not just at Aston Villa, he’s continually winning Europa Leagues.

“Mikel Arteta and even Mauricio Pochettino haven’t got that CV, in terms of winning trophies.”

Villa’s fantastic start to 2023-24 has seen them tipped to compete for Champions League qualification, and Carragher has no doubt that Emery’s team are a more cohesive unit than potential top-four rivals Manchester United.

However, with Villa looking to go deep in the Europa Conference League after opening their European campaign with three wins from their first four group-stage games, Carragher feels they may struggle to maintain their form in the new year.

“If you back over the last 12 months since Unai Emery came in, if you are talking about Manchester United, Aston Villa are a better coached team than United,” Carragher said. “There is absolutely no doubt about that.

“The problem Villa might have is that I think they will go far in Europe, because of the manager they have and the quality he has.

“I can see them doing really well in the Europa Conference League. So in the second half of the season, they could be playing a lot on Thursday and then Sunday.

“In terms of Manchester United and Newcastle, there’s a good chance they may not even have Europe in the second half of the season.

“They could quite easily finish bottom of their Champions League groups so they wouldn’t even go into the Europa League. That could be a deciding factor.”

Villa return to Premier League action on November 26 with a huge away game against Tottenham, with Ange Postecoglou’s men just one point clear of the Villans after suffering back-to-back defeats against Chelsea and Wolves.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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