Mikel Arteta has insisted that Arsenal remain focused on their league form, despite having a Europa League semi-final clash with Unai Emery’s Villarreal on the horizon.
The Gunners recovered from a late setback in their quarter-final first-leg clash with Slavia Prague to power past the Czech side in the second-leg, finishing the tie with a 5-1 aggregate triumph after a devastating 4-0 win on Thursday night.
Goals from Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe and a brace from stand-in skipper Alexandre Lacazette ensured a comfortable passage into the next round, Arsenal having slipped up at the round of 32 stage last season.
That result has raised hopes of not only ending the season with a trophy, but also securing Champions League football for next season, should they see off Villarreal in the last-four and then the winners of Manchester United’s semi-final clash with AS Roma.
With their first-leg meeting with the La Liga side to come on 29 April, it will no doubt be their priority, the north London club currently enduring a fairly dismal league campaign, with little hope of securing European football through their league position.
That being said, however, Arteta has insisted that his side aren’t ready to give up in the league just yet, the Spaniard saying it would be dangerous to solely focus on their continental conquest.
“Putting our eggs in one basket would be a big mistake,” Arteta told his pre-match press conference.
“I love that phrase. My dad has always told me that since I was 15 years old. We cannot do that.
“The league is really important — there are a lot of points to play for and there have been a lot of changes in recent weeks in terms of the table.
“We want to be involved right up until the last match and the way to do it is to put a run together ourselves.”