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HomePremier LeagueRice demands reaction as Arsenal aim for Champions League semi-final

Rice demands reaction as Arsenal aim for Champions League semi-final

Declan Rice has demanded a reaction from Arsenal after the club’s defeat to Aston Villa, as the north Londoners look to reach the Champions League semi-finals this week.

Arsenal travel to face Bayern Munich in the second leg of their quarter-final tie, with the aggregate score level at 2-2 after an entertaining draw at the Emirates.

The Gunners have not reached the last four of the Champions League since 2008/09, but will need to improve from a disappointing performance against Aston Villa on Sunday to do so.

 

Mikel Arteta’s team suffered a setback in their Premier League title challenge after a 2-0 defeat, as goals from Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins condemned Arsenal to a first league defeat of 2024.

Rice said Arsenal were ‘gutted’ with the result at full-time and demanded the Gunners bounce back ahead of their trip to Germany on Wednesday night.

“We’re gutted and disappointed we’ve lost a massive game but, it’s time for a reaction,” the England midfielder said post-match.

“We’ve been on such an amazing run since January, won so many football matches, and got ourselves back into an unbelievable position after being written off at Christmas.

“Now that reaction starts in the Champions League against Bayern, so we’ll be ready for that. We have to park this to the side now. It’s gone, it’s a game of football. We’ve lost but we need to bounce back, that’s for sure.

“It’s a great chance for us to get into a Champions League semi-final. Going to the Allianz Arena, it’s going to be a special night. It’s time to pull our socks up and show everyone why we’re in this position.

 

“It’s not over yet, there’s six games to go. We’re in an unbelievable position, two points behind. We’re still ready, we’re still fully focused on what we want to do and what we can achieve. There’s going to be many more twists and turns in the Premier League, I think you can see that with the other results today. Anything can happen and we’ll stay positive.”

Rice believes Arsenal should have won the game against Villa in the first half and called on his side to be more clinical in the final third.

“When you create that many chances and have that many one-on-ones with the keeper or you get to the byline and you don’t quite get the cross, or don’t quite get the finish it’s very disappointing,” he added.

“We’ve got to be taking one of those chances because in games like this, teams like Villa have got quality and can come back to haunt you and they did today.

“I think in the first half they gave us so much space, then second half they adapted to that. They closed everything up, and where we were having our success in the first half, they shut down completely. We didn’t have enough attempts on goal in the second half, that’s for sure, in a game where we should be winning.”

Read – Premier League Team of the Week – Matchday 33

See more – Premier League Awards: Title race twists and Ice-cold Isak

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