Mikel Arteta says Arsenal will take ‘energy and happiness’ into this weekend’s FA Cup semi-final after securing victory over newly-crowned Premier League champions Liverpool on Wednesday night.
Arsenal came from behind to end Liverpool’s hopes of setting a new Premier League points record at the Emirates, goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Reiss Nelson cancelling out Sadio Mane’s opener for the visitors as the Gunners sealed a vital victory in their bid to secure European qualification.
Arteta’s side ruthlessly capitalised on individual mistakes from Virgil van Dijk and Alisson to become just the third side to beat the champions this season, and the Spaniard admits the victory is a huge morale boost ahead of their FA Cup last four meeting with Manchester City this weekend.
“Absolutely, in terms of energy and happiness in the dressing room before the semi-final, it’s a good medicine. To beat this team you have to have moments in the game when you take your chances, defend and have a bit of luck,” Arteta told Sky Sports.
“I was worried after 1-0 how we would react. We were able to pick one moment and believe again.
Victory maintained Arsenal’s hopes of qualifying for Europe next season through their league position, with the FA Cup offering a potential second route into continental competition.
Arteta opted to rotate his side for the win over Liverpool – naming leading scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang amongst the substitutes – but says his side will give their ‘maximum’ in both competitions over the coming weeks.
“We will go for both, our maximum, it is just a few games so we will keep going,” the Spanish coach said.
”The gap between the two teams today is enormous, we can not improve it in two months, but the accountability, the fight is now equal and I am very proud of that. The rest will take some time.
“Arsene (Wenger) did some incredible things and was very successful. I have done nothing yet. We need belief to go in the direction.”