Mikel Arteta insists the Arsenal squad ‘feel’ the support of the club’s fans ahead of their Europa League semi-final second leg with Villarreal.
Arsenal host the La Liga side in the second leg of their last four tie tomorrow evening, with the Gunners attempting to overturn a 2-1 deficit following defeat in the first meeting in Spain.
Arteta’s side are bidding to reach a second Europa League final in three seasons ahead of tomorrow’s clash in north London, a potential victory in the competition providing silverware and a route back into the Champions League after a four season absence.
Football remains behind closed doors amid the ongoing pandemic but there have been suggestions fans could gather to cheer the Arsenal players into the Emirates, a scenario that Arteta admits would be welcomed ahead of a huge clash.
“That would be great. We have been missing them so much. We need them,” Arteta told his pre-match press conference.
“The players and the team feel that they are right behind them, supporting them. I think it’s the 10th time the club is playing a European semi-final so it’s a big moment for us. Hopefully we can have them closer than we have had them in the last few months.”
Arsenal were fortunate to escape from the first leg with only a narrow disadvantage after falling two goals behind before Dani Ceballos was sent off inside the opening hour, though Nicolas Pepe’s penalty handed the Gunners a crucial lifeline and away goal.
Arteta believes that strike could prove crucial as his side bid to reach the final and believes his side came away from the first meeting in ‘a pretty good way ‘considering the circumstances’ involved.
“It’s always really important. With the context and situation of what happened in the game, we got out of that situation in a pretty good way considering the circumstances and playing for 40 minutes with 10 men.”