Five players who could be starring for Arsenal now had Gunners not sacked Unai Emery

Mikel Arteta reviews Arsenal's win against West Ham

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Unai Emery’s Villarreal side ran Liverpool close in their Champions League semi-final second leg on Tuesday. Jurgen Klopp’s men eventually won the tie 5-2 on aggregate following a stellar second half, but there was enough in Villarreal’s performance to warrant plaudits from the former Arsenal boss’ admirers. Arsene Wenger has claimed the Gunners were too quick to sack the Spaniard. And here, Express Sport takes a look at five players who could be starring at the Emirates were Emery still in charge…

Matteo Guendouzi

Guendouzi was touted as a top talent under Emery’s control, having excelled at the age of 19 under the Spaniard with 48 appearances.

However, he floundered upon Mikel Arteta’s arrival and consequently was shipped out to Hertha Berlin on loan. He is currently at Europa League semi-finalists Marseille.

The midfielder has yet to return under Arteta, and the manager has made it known that he sees no future for the Frenchman at the Emirates. That could have been much different under Emery.

William Saliba

Saliba’s tale is a strange one. The centre-back joined with huge expectations from Saint-Etienne for a fee of around £27million in 2019 and was expected to star heavily for the Gunners at least the season after.

However, after being loaned back to Les Verts as part of the deal, once he linked up with Arsenal, Arteta had replaced Emery.

He was sent on loan to Nice whilst Arteta bought Gabriel, and the same occurred again this summer when he was shipped out to Marseille whilst Ben White was bought for £50m. Had Emery stayed in charge, Saliba might have been a big part of the Arsenal defence by now.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Aubameyang won the Premier League top goalscorer award whilst at Arsenal under Emery, alongside an appearance in the Europa League team of the season.

Having scored over 40 goals for the Gunners across the season-and-a-half that he performed under Emery, he was expected to carry that on into the Arteta era.

But having fallen out with the Spaniard, his career in north London is no more – a sad ending considering his exploits at Barcelona.

Hector Bellerin

Barcelona-born Bellerin starred under Wenger during the Frenchman’s time at the Emirates Stadium, although some of those minutes vanished under Arteta.

That isn’t to say Emery didn’t play him as the star was felled by a cruciate ligament rupture in a 2-0 win over Chelsea on January 19.

If he hadn’t been injured, Arteta may never have signed Cedric Soares as his replacement.

Lucas Torreira

For a short amount of time, Torreira was seen as one of the key components of the Arsenal side that Emery managed.

He played in 50 games for the club in his first season, and was the tenacious type the Gunners needed in midfield.

But the arrivals of others and subsequent lack of game time under Arteta again summoned another Emery favourite out on loan.

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