Unai Emery weighs in on controversial Aston Villa claim, name-dropping Arsenal and Newcastle United

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22: Unai Emery, Manager of Aston Villa, speaks to the media prior to the Premier League match between Aston Villa and West Ham United at Villa Park on October 22, 2023 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery has responded passionately to claims his side could challenge for the Premier League title following an eleventh successive home victory in the top flight. The Villans continued their fine form with a comprehensive 4-1 victory over West Ham United on Sunday, moving to within just two points of leaders Manchester City.

With just one professional English match taking place on October 22, the eyes of the nation were on Villa as they thrashed the Hammers. It’s not just this one occasion that the men in claret have turned up, though, as they have made Villa Park one of the most terrifying stadiums to visit in the entire country, let alone just in the Premier League.

Reacting to Villa’s strong position, Emery said post-match: “Dream always. My dream is to win the Champions League. I am going to try and do my way but now we are fifth. There are seven contenders better than us in the table. Of course, we are now fifth and we are facing each match trying to get good performances and three points.

“We have to be demanding, consistent and focused. The consequences are getting more points. There are seven teams [that are] contenders in front of us. We are after seven teams. They are Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle. The top seven teams,” Emery admitted with a chuckle.

David Moyes, gracious in defeat, was full of praise for his opponent despite his side getting thrashed, admitting Villa are probably the fourth-best team in the Premier League at the moment. How did Emery react when he found that out? Well, as you’d expect. “Hopefully,” the Villans head coach joked, prompting a chorus of laughs in the press lounge.

As much as Emery is reluctant to admit Villa are in the fight for the Champions League spots, the reality is they well and truly are and are set for an even more exciting season than their last. The Villans could even have an outside shot of competing for the title, although that is of course very unlikely with the elite teams gunning for the top spot.