Arsenal will welcome a familiar face in Unai Emery to the Emirates Stadium in the semifinals of the Europa League after a dominant 4-0 victory over Slavia Prague in the quarter-finals second leg on Thursday.
The Gunners were under pressure going into the game having conceded a late equaliser in the first leg in North London. However, a dominant performance saw the game put to bed in the first-half with Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette and Bukayo Saka scoring three goals in six minutes.
Emery's Villarreal are up next in Mikel Arteta's quest to win the Europa League. Prior to his appointment in Spain, the Spanish manager was at the dugout in North London having taken over from Arsene Wenger.
Arteta is aware that Arsenal will have their task cut out for them, owing to Emery's pedigree in the secondary European club competition. The former Gunners boss won an unprecedented three consecutive Europa League titles during his time with Sevilla, while also taking Arsenal to the final in his first season in charge in 2019.
"It will be a tough game. Villarreal are a tough side and Unai Emery is the most successful manager in this competition," Arteta said after Arsenal's win over Slavia, as quoted on the club's official site.
"We're going to enjoy tonight and we know we're going to have time to prepare for that one. There's no time to prepare for Fulham on Sunday but this is where we are," he added.
Emery, meanwhile, looked to distance himself from the drama of facing the club that sacked him two years ago. He wants the focus to remain on his team and their goal of qualifying to the Champions League by winning the Europa League.
"We are happy. It was a challenge, but the trajectory in the Europa League is being very serious and we are responding at a higher level every time," Emery said, as quoted on Goal.
"It is a challenge, something that Villarreal has already done. Breaking the barrier of the semi-finals is the great challenge. The idea of reaching the Champions League through the Europa League is very important.
"When I signed here this was [part of the process]. You have to live each moment. We are receiving people's dream. The dream increases. My past at Arsenal is less important," the Villarreal boss added.