There are probably contrasting feelings from their former fans regarding Mauricio Pochettino and Unai Emery.
Both ended the 2018/19 season with losses in European finals, with Tottenham coming up short against Liverpool in the Champions League and Arsenal being comfortably seen off by Chelsea in the Europa League.
A few months into the following campaign, however, and everything exploded.
By the end of November, both were out of a job. The final straw for Daniel Levy was a 1-1 draw at home to Sheffield United. There was to be no mourning period, as Jose Mourinho came in a day later.
The switcheroo wasn't as swift for Arsenal, as the Gunners ditched Emery after a 2-1 home defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League, with Freddie Ljungberg stepping in as interim manager. It took just under a month for a successor to be appointed, as Mikel Arteta was lured from Manchester City to take the hotseat.
Both were just a game away from glory. Differing levels of glory, but glory nonetheless. While Emery has been pretty outspoken in his criticism of Arsenal following his departure, Pochettino remains thankful to a fault to Tottenham.
His gardening leave came to an end recently, so naturally a few interviews have come out with the Argentine regarding his time at Tottenham and what the future may hold. What may come as a slight surprise, however, is that Pochettino revealed he, Emery and Jesus Perez - Poch's assistant - went for a coffee in north London after their sackings.
“Before the pandemic, me and Jesus met with Unai for a coffee, to talk and share our experiences,” Pochettino told the Guardian. “We were working in different clubs, we were at the enemy, and people were walking past and saying: ‘Unai and Pochettino and Jesús are now sharing a coffee!’ It was in Cockfosters. It was very funny."
Now, obviously we have no idea what they may or may not have talked about. We can but only use our imaginations. But now's as good a time as any for one to let their imagination run wild, right?
Right. So here's a totally confirmed, 100% accurate account of what the trio definitely talked about. For sure. Probably. Maybe. But also not really.
Mauricio and Jesus are sat in a cafe in north London. The walls could do with another lick of paint and ketchup and brown sauce stains mark their table, though their white builders tea mugs remain in pristine condition. Both would ideally be sipping on maté, but that beverage is not on the menu.
It's just tea or coffee, and neither will be going for a Yazoo out of the tatty looking fridge. There's certainly no avocado on toast offered, either. You can get yourself a full English or a bacon sandwich, but that's it.
Mauricio turns around and sees Unai, his former north London rival, and the pair embrace. Poch's beard, thick and grey, rustles up against Unai's clean shaven chin, and smiles light up the otherwise drab surroundings.
'Excuse me,' Unai says towards the counter. 'Maté, please.'
'Ain't your mate, Unai,' the burly, bald chef barks. 'You stole my Arsenal, I trusted you.'
Unai's smile leaves his face momentarily, but soon reappears as quickly as it vanished.
'Oh, coffee then, black, thank you.'
The three sit at their table, squashed together tightly, as Unai's coffee arrives, disdainfully dropped next to his hand by the big baldie. The trio start conversing in Spanish.
'That guy is an absolute cow,' Mauricio says, taking a sip of his tea. 'Lemon?'
He pulls out a brown paper bag, picks a lemon, and bites into it. 'They're good for the soul, they soak up any negative energy, and they're delicious.'
'No thanks,' Unai says, looking rather sceptically at his old rival. 'Too sour. And doesn't that mean you're eating bad energy?'
Mauricio shrugs. 'So. You're one of us now, eh? You are free!'
'Yes, it is true that we are one and the same. How can it be that we can reach European finals in the same season and then, only a few months later, both be out of a job?'
Mauricio and Jesus look at each other, slightly confused while Unai shakes his head. 'Well,' Mauricio explains, 'We're not exactly the same. We got to the Champions League final, playing Barcelona, Inter, Manchester City, Dortmund, you guys only reached the Europa-'
'Yes, yes, it hurts all the same, to come so close. It is a competition I have won many times before, and I was sure I'd win it again.'
Mauricio still looks puzzled, though Unai is rather oblivious, continually sipping his coffee while staring at the window.
'So, your guys didn't waste their time, eh? They went straight for that special one?'
Unai laughs. Polite smiles emerge on Mauricio and Jesus' faces, though it's evidently still a touchy subject.
'Yes, they did. We could have been near the top of the league with proper investment, but it didn't come and I was stuck with players who were either past their best or looking to leave. Good luck to Jose, I hope he looks after Harry's ankles.'
'Ah yes, but it's not all about the money,' Unai retorts. 'At Arsenal we had money, but our strategy was all over the place. This guy, Nicolas Pepe, I didn't know his character. Zaha was the one; he was proven in our league, but no, I was given Pepe, and just look at how that has gone.'
'Yes, but some great free kicks in the Europa League, right?' Jesus quips, knowing he'll get a rise from Unai.
'Hey now,' Unai snaps. 'He may not have been my ideal man, but he did keep me in a job. Remember this.'
Mauricio and Jesus look sheepishly at each other. They know they've touched a nerve.
'So,' Mauricio says, evidently looking to get Unai back on-side. 'People say I didn't succeed at Tottenham because I didn't win a trophy. Tell me: what's it like to win one?'
The glint is straight back in Unai's eye, but he's concerned only by taking some sort of high ground. He knows all too well that armchair pundits have torn him to shreds over the past few months, but Mauricio is right; Unai has more trophies in the bank.
'Well,' Unai says, lifting up his mug to finish his coffee before setting it back down again. 'Football is like this sometimes. At Sevilla, Monchi and I had everythin-'
Mauricio's phone starts to vibrate. Loudly. He picks it up, and sees an annoyingly familiar face on the caller ID.
'Ah, not this guy again,' Mauricio moans. Unai slumps in his chair, dejected at losing his chance to tell stories from his glory days while his phone remains motionless.
'You know, I've had plenty of calls too,' he asserts. Mauricio holds his finger up, as if to suggest 'Just one moment, Unai.'
'Ed! You dirty devil! How the bloody hell are you? Yes, Ole is doing a great job, sure. What? How much? £100m? Only £100m? Who can I buy with £100m? That won't be enough I'm afraid. No, I won't settle for a lifetime supply of lemons, I pick my own. OK, thanks Ed. Come back when you have more cash. Gracias. Buenas tardes.'
Mauricio hangs up on Ed while the Manchester United chief executive cries through the phone, and looks back at Unai.
'Sorry about that, my friend. You were saying?'
Unai huffs, evidently displeased with the power-play Mauricio is blatantly pulling.
'It's OK. I was just talking about my success at Sevilla, but of course you are not interested in big silver things.'
Mauricio's smirk turns to a sad frown. He looks at Jesus, who's leaning forward aggressively with his face bright red, accompanied by steam powering out of his ears. Suddenly, he switches.
'YOU DON'T SAY THAT! DON'T SAY THAT! DON'T SAY THAT!'
The three other customers in the cafe each drop their butties and turn around to view the spat. A piece of bacon falls out of the burly bald chef's mouth as Mauricio puts an arm around Jesus to relax him.
'Hey now,' he says. 'We are not in Burnley and this man is not Mike Dean, eh? In life, just like football, you have to believe and have patience. It will come, my friend.'
Jesus nods, and leans back against his chair.
Unai laughs, though he's more than a little unsettled.
'It's OK,' he snaps. 'I must leave now, I need to passive aggressively speak out about Aaron Ramsey leaving for Juventus.'
'But we've only been here for ten minutes?'
'No matter, I must get back on the merry-go-round for the next job. Thanks for the coffee, and remember; You and I are one, Mauricio!'
'What, so I have to pay? I left my wallet at home.'
Unai's already left.
'Don't worry Jesus,' Mauricio says, picking his phone back up. 'I know someone who'll happily pay.'
Source : 90min