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Arteta: We can’t let protests distract us with season on line

Arsenal’s season is, not for the first time, on the line as they host Villarreal in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final and they cannot afford to take their eye off the ball.

We have already seen the power of Arsenal fans’ protesting, with thousands turning up before a match with Everton last month and calling for owner Stan Kroenke to sell up.

Whether the same number do tonight remains to be seen, but either way Arsenal cannot allow it to distract them.

“We have to prepare for the game in the best possible way, I wouldn’t like to use any excuses,” said Arteta.

“We have to try to be away from all the rumours [about a takeover bid] and everything that is happening around the club, and just focus on the pitch.

“The best way to help the club to be in the best possible position is to win football matches and be competitive at the highest level.”

AFP via Getty Images

Arteta has never told fans not to protest, but instead asked that they express themselves the right way and in an ideal world that would manifest itself with supporters cheering the Arsenal coach into the Emirates tonight.

Those were the scenes at Chelsea last night, before they beat Real Madrid to book at place in the Champions League final, and Arteta is hoping for the same.

“I think that would be great,” he said. “We’ve been missing them so much, we need them. We need them and for the players and the team to feel that they are right behind them supporting them.

“I think it is the 10th time the club has played a European semi-final, so it’s a big moment for us so hopefully we can have them closer than we have already in the last few months.”


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