Aston Villa tipped to complete historic feat they’ve never achieved as Arsenal question raised

Ciaran McCarthy
Aston Villa, November 2023
Aston Villa players celebrate goal in Europa Conference League

David James believes Aston Villa could reach the Champions League under Unai Emery, as he feels the manager could have had success with Arsenal had he been given longer.

Villa look a completely different side to the one Emery took over. Indeed, they were battling relegation when Steven Gerrard was sacked last season, yet come the end of the term under Emery, they were seventh.

That led them into the Europa Conference League, the first time they’d entered a European competition since the 2010/11 season.

This term, they’re currently fifth, and within three points of first-placed Manchester City. Former Premier League goalkeeper James believes the Villans can do something they’ve never done before and quality for the Champions League.

Of course, Villa have played in Europe’s top competition, and even won it in 1981/82, but when it was the European Cup.

“At the moment, they are buzzing and you have to ask yourself ‘Champions League, why not?'” James said, quoted by Express and Star.

“The Villa fans and Unai Emery are the perfect match and if they were to get in the Champions League, it would be a tremendous statement.”

If Villa continue the upwards curve they’re on, it certainly might not be long until they find themselves in the elite competition.

James also suggested that Arsenal could have had more success under Emery had he been given more time at the club.

“Unai Emery has been awesome. When you see what he is doing with Villa, it makes you wonder the impact he might have had at Arsenal if he had been given more time, given their spending power and the quality already there,” he added.

Emery was with Arsenal for over a year, and while he started strong, his side’s performances slipped as his tenure progressed. Under Mikel Arteta, they almost won the Premier League, and have won the FA Cup.

There seems a good chance they have success under him, so they’ll not be worried about missing out on it under Emery.

Both the Gunners and Villa should be very happy with where they are at the moment under their respective managers, as both are flying higher than they were before them.

READ MORE: Liverpool trio’s ‘firepower’ means they’ll finish above Arsenal as pundit feels Reds’ threat is higher