Arteta relying on ‘stars’ to send Arsenal into Europa League semi-final
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Arteta to rely on stars
Arsenal take on Slavia Prague tomorrow evening in an opportunity to earn a second European semi-final in 3 years.
2-years ago Arsenal progressed past Napoli and then Valencia to reach the Europa League final which saw them lose 4-1 against Chelsea and Maurizio Sarri.
Ahead of a tie on a much thinner knife edge than its predecessor, The Gunners’ manager Mikel Arteta has called on his big players to drag them through.
“We’ve shown that in big games, big players have to step in and create the magic moments and you need that. So let’s hope that we can have them,” said Arteta.
LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 18: Pierre Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal reacts during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Arsenal and Olympiacos at Emirates Stadium on March 18, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around Europe remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
“It doesn’t matter who it is but someone has to create when the team needs those moments. We have moments in the season where it has been the senior players and then other moments where it has been the young players. It doesn’t really matter.”
One of the big criticisms of Arsenal this season has been that their senior players have let them down whilst the youngsters such as Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe have inspired the team to victories.
Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang have both missed big chances in games and will hope, should they feature, that they can find their shooting boots for the side.
Arsenal should be in Europe
Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno said that the Gunners should be in Europe next season because they deserve to be.
The German stopper was at fault for the goal at the Emirates against Slavia Prague having conceded a corner and then was unable to stop the Slavia header from the corner.
“When you think of a future without Arsenal in European competition, it doesn’t feel right. Our job is to make sure it doesn’t come true. Arsenal belongs to Europe and that’s our target. That’s our job,” said Leno.
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 29: Bernd Leno of Arsenal reacts after Chelsea score their first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC at Emirates Stadium on December 29, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
The former Bayer Leverkusen keeper also spoke about his own future admitting that whilst happy at Arsenal, he was open to a ‘new adventure.’
“Not yet and at the moment it’s not the time to speak about the future,” he said when asked about possible contract talks. “I know that I still have two years left on my contract and I’m also 29. For a goalkeeper, that’s not too old.
“I’ve still got some years to go. I’m very happy at the club. I don’t know what will come in the future, but I’m open to everything. Maybe for a new adventure or to stay at Arsenal. Like I said, I don’t think about my future because two years is a long time. At the moment there are no conversations with the club or anything else.”
Arsenal take on Slavia Prague at 8pm tomorrow.