Arsenal stars hail fans on Emirates return: ‘We’ve got our 12th man back’

Malik Ouzia
·2-min read
 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal stars Alexandre Lacazette and Ainsley Maitland-Niles hailed the return of fans to the Emirates Stadium following Thursday night’s Europa League win over Rapid Vienna.

The Gunners welcomed 2,000 spectators into their home for the first time since March, following the easing in Government coronavirus restrictions this week.

Mikel Arteta’s side made sure it was a celebratory occasion as Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah, Pablo Mari and Emile Smith Rowe scored in a 4-1 win that kept up the north Londoners’ 100 per cent record in the competition.

"We said before the game we would just have fun and enjoy the game,” Maitland-Niles told BT Sport. “Enjoy the moment and have a good feel for it and we did that and executed it brilliantly.

"We've waited a long time, it's a great feeling to have them back. It was only a few thousand tonight but we hope more will come eventually. It's just great to have that sound back and have our 12th man back.”

Lacazette’s goal was one of several bright points on the night for Arteta, with the Frenchman enduring a difficult season so far.

Mari’s header also marked his first start of the season after injury, while Callum Chambers made his return from almost a year on the sidelines with an ACL injury as a second half substitutes.

"It was amazing,” Lacazette added. “We were so happy to see the fans today it really helped us during the game, even in bad moments they pushed us to play good obviously we played well it was good football.

“We had two players come back from injury so we're really happy for them so it was a good night."

“[To score] was really good, really nice when fans are behind us. It was not easy for me this last couple of weeks but to see the fans behind me and the team - I really enjoyed tonight so thanks to them.”

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