Mikel Arteta admits he ‘would like’ to end Arsenal’s wait for a European trophy as the club begin their Europa League campaign at FC Zurich.
The Gunners have travelled to Switzerland for their Europa League group stage opener as the club’s continental campaign gets underway.
Arsenal will begin the tournament among the favourites to win the Europa League this season, but have not won a European trophy since lifting the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1993/94. This season’s competition offers a realistic route to silverware for the North Londoners, while the winners are also assured of a place in next season’s Champions League.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Arteta outlined his desire to end Arsenal’s wait for success in Europe and his intention to take the competition ‘very seriously’ this season.
“That’s a long time and I would like to be the first one to break that negative record. You have to start somewhere – that’s tomorrow. We need to start well and earn the right to win the match.”
Arsenal have taken a strong squad to Switzerland for the clash and Arteta insists he wants to begin the club’s campaign with a positive result.
“We don’t have that many players available, unfortunately, with injuries we’ve picked up in the last two weeks. This is a competition that we want to take very seriously, against an opponent that is going to make life difficult for us. We want to start the competition the right way and maintain our momentum.”
Zurich were crowned champions of the Swiss Super League for the first time in 13 years last season, but have began the new season in disastrous form and are without a win in their opening seven league games. Arteta, however, is expecting a response from Thursday’s opponents.
“The biggest danger is that, after the season they had last year, they haven’t got the results that they expected. You can see how willing they are to win football matches. This is a different competition, a different context and I expect a team that is going to be very ready tomorrow.”