Mikel Arteta Says Return of Fans was a Huge Contribution

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Arsenal made it five wins in a row in the Europa League as they beat Rapid Wien at the Emirates Stadium tonight. Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, manager Mikel Arteta had a message for the limited number of fans that were allowed back in the stadium.

The North London club began the match brightly and never looked back after Alexandre Lacazette gave them the lead. They ended up winning 4-1 with further goals from Pablo Mari, Eddie Nketiah and Emile Smith-Rowe.

Of course the main talking point of the game was fans being able to return to the stadium. With a maximum of 2,000 allowed back into the Emirates, it was a special occasion and one that the manager acknowledged made a difference.

The Spanish boss spoke about how important it was to have that kind of support and encouragement.

According to Sky Sports, he said:

“It was very special and [I’m] delighted to have them [the fans] back. I think they made a huge contribution.

“This sport without fans is completely different. The players lose a bit of purpose and emotion. We are here to entertain and make the fans enjoy.

“We had 2,000 but it looked like many more.” 

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“They were really supportive with the team, they were very encouraging to the team and the lads were saying here it makes a huge difference to feel that encouragement and support from them.”

The way the Gunners have been playing in Europe is quite a contrast to their domestic form, which has left them in the bottom half of the table. With Sunday’s game against league leaders Tottenham, this win could prove to be important.

One way of getting over a bad run of results is to capitalise on the momentum that a win creates. With the North Londoners also sealing the top spot in their group, it provides them with a boost ahead of the derby at the weekend.

The manager will be happy with the way some of the younger players have stepped up this season. They are a big reason as to why the club has done so well in the Europa League competition. The likes of Nketiah, Reiss Nelson and many more have made these games enjoyable to watch.

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If the senior players are able to take a leaf out of the way the youngsters are playing, it can turn their Premier League form around. Getting a win on Sunday would mean so much for Arsenal’s season going forward.

If they continue to play with the authority they did on Thursday, that becomes a real possibility.

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