Mikel Arteta wants Arsenal fans to give team bus rousing reception ahead of Villarreal semi-final

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Simon Collings
·2-min read
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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta says it would be great if Arsenal fans could cheer the team’s coach into Emirates Stadium tomorrow tonight as supporters prepare to protest against owner Stan Kroenke again.

Arsenal fans want Kroenke to sell the club and thousands protested before the Gunners’ game against Everton last month.

More protests are expected tomorrow ahead of the second leg of Arsenal’s Europa League semi-final with Villarreal, which they are trailing 2-1.

Arteta believes supporters have the right to express themselves, but he has urged for any protests to be done in the right way and for fans to get behind the team, too.

Arsenal are currently sat ninth in the Premier League and need to win the Europa League if they want to play European football next season.

And asked if it would give the players a lift to be cheered into the ground tomorrow night, Arteta said: “I think that would be great.

“We’ve been missing them (fans) so much. 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.

“I think that they have to be able to express themselves. If it is done in a specific way they have the right to do it.

“I know that the only purpose of the fans is to defend the club and they want the best for the team and we will try to do the same.”

Arsenal have a few fitness concerns ahead of tomorrow’s match, with Alexandre Lacazette, David Luiz and Kieran Tierney all doubts.

All three were being assessed today, with Lacazette (hamstring) and Tierney (knee) managing to train yesterday.

Meanwhile, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who scored in the win at Newcastle, is fit to start after recovering from malaria and Arteta believes the stage is set for him to turn around what has been a difficult season.

“This game always gives you another opportunity and if you are there, and you are ready for the taking, it can turn things around really quickly,” he said. “So hopefully we can see that tomorrow.”

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