MX23RW : Friday, August 7 15:56:10| >> :60:606:606:
Sep 15, 2019 at 4.30pm UK at Vicarage Road
Attendance: 21,360
Watford
2-2
Arsenal
Cleverley (53'), Pereyra (81' pen.)
FT(HT: 0-2)
Aubameyang (21', 32')

Unai Emery reveals he was with Javi Gracia when he learned of Watford sack

Unai Emery reveals he was with Javi Gracia when he learned of Watford sack
© Reuters
The Hornets are bottom of the Premier League.

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has revealed he was sat in his hometown with Javi Gracia discussing the upcoming match against Watford when the Hornets sacked the Spaniard.

Despite reaching the FA Cup final less than four months ago, Gracia lost his job at Vicarage Road after a run of seven defeats in 10 Premier League games and with Watford bottom of the table this term.

Arsenal are the visitors on Sunday but it will be the reappointed Quique Sanchez Flores in the dugout opposite Emery as he returns to the club he left in 2016.

Unai Emery and Javi Gracia are good friends
Unai Emery and Javi Gracia are good friends (Yui Mok/PA)

Emery is a close friend of Gracia, the former Watford boss was the first person he called when offered the Arsenal job in 2018, and the two men – alongside their coaching staff – often dined together.

But it was a chance meeting in Spain last Saturday which led to Emery being on hand when Gracia's news was revealed.

"It's amazing," said Emery. "I met him, we found each other last week in my town, in Hondarribia, when I was there with my family.

"I was walking and in front of us was Javi Gracia. And in the moment we started speaking about our match, and we finished it knowing he was sacked. It's a good story, yes?"

Emery has also backed Gracia to return to work before too long, adding: "He is a very good coach, as he showed last year in Watford.

"The club decided, and I have to respect that. He is going to work and he is going to continue his career like he is, like a great coach."

While he does not have the same relationship with Flores, they have faced each other on plenty of occasions.

Emery recalls when the pair met in the Europa League quarter-final in 2010, his Valencia side losing to Atletico Madrid – who went on to lift the trophy under Flores.

"I remember it," he said. "Every coach, every player, every person in football remembers some things. I remember we drew 2-2 at home and we drew 0-0 away.

"In the last minute the referee did not give us an amazing penalty for the opportunity to win. In my way, everything that happened to me is something to learn from, for experience.

"Sometimes it's positive, at the moment more positive, but also negative. I learned from it all."

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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CLiverpool38323385335299
2Manchester CityMan City382639102356781
3Manchester UnitedMan Utd381812866363066
4Chelsea382061269541566
5Leicester CityLeicester381881267412662
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs3816111161471459
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves381514951401159
8Arsenal381414105648856
9Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd381412123939054
10Burnley38159144350-754
11Southampton38157165160-952
12Everton381310154456-1249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381111163858-2044
14Crystal Palace381110173150-1943
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914153954-1541
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham38109194962-1339
17Aston Villa3898214167-2635
RBournemouth3897224065-2534
RWatford38810203664-2834
RNorwich CityNorwich3856272675-4921

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