BBC pundit shares what he's heard about Unai Emery with Aston Villa accolade on the cards
We’re delighted to welcome former Aston Villa full-back Alan Hutton as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Villa Park…
Unai Emery “won’t win” the Premier League Manager of the Season award but deserves to be among the nominees for overseeing a superb turnaround at Aston Villa, according to Alan Hutton.
The former Arsenal boss is among six bosses up for the prize alongside Mikel Arteta, Roberto De Zerbi, Pep Guardiola, Eddie Howe and Marco Silva despite officially only taking over on November 1.
Spaniard Emery has transformed Villa from potential relegation candidates to European challengers in the top flight since replacing Steven Gerrard this term, though, and Hutton has no doubt he is worthy of a place on the shortlist.
“I’ve heard a few things about it, obviously he’s come in halfway through. So, technically is it Manager of the Season because he’s not been there from the start?” Hutton exclusively told Villa News.
“But I also understand why he’s there. I mean you think, Villa were looking at a relegation battle and they’re now looking at European football, which is quite incredible.
“I mean the turnaround, I think it was 10 games they went unbeaten not that long ago. They’re putting in a fight with all the top teams that they play against, they’re looking well organised, well drilled, everybody knows their position and they’re fighting for each other.
“To be able to do that turnaround in such a short space of time is incredible, so the flip side of the coin is I do understand why he’s now been mentioned for it.
“But he won’t win it, it’s an incredible job and achievement just to be in with the other nominees but obviously there are other candidates there that will be ahead.”
Villa have won 14 of the 24 Premier League games they have played under Emery and went 10 matches unbeaten from 25 February until losing 1-0 at Manchester United on 30 April.
If the Villans can defeat Brighton in their season finale on Sunday, they will guarantee their spot in the Europa Conference League next season.
They can technically still make the Europa League but that would require Brighton losing both of their remaining two matches and a 17-goal swing in Villa’s favour.
In other Aston Villa news, Emery may be forced to sell Leon Bailey after his latest poor performance.