Mikel Arteta issues warning to Arsenal stars ahead of Europa League showdown
Mikel Arteta warns that Arsenal cannot afford to put all of their eggs into one basket with the Europa League
Mikel Arteta has warned his Arsenal players that the Gunners cannot afford to put all their eggs into one basket with the Europa League this season.
The north London side will take on Villarreal in the first leg of their semi-final clash in Europe’s second tier club competition next week as they look to take a step closer to a final showdown against either Manchester United or AS Roma.
Arsenal are currently languishing down in ninth place in the Premier League table after a stuttering season under Arteta in the top flight.
The north London side will take on Everton in the Premier League at The Emirates on Friday night as they look to end the season on a high.
Arsenal fans are likely to have one eye on next week’s semi-final showdown with Unai Emery’s Villarreal side, but Arteta has insisted that the Gunners cannot afford to take their eye off the ball with their Premier League form.
Speaking in an interview quoted by the Daily Mirror, Arteta said: “Putting our eggs in one basket would be a big mistake.
“I love that phrase. My dad has always told me that since I was 15 years old. We cannot do that.
“The league is really important — there are a lot of points to play for and there have been a lot of changes in recent weeks in terms of the table.
“We want to be involved right up until the last match and the way to do it is to put a run together ourselves.”
Arsenal finished in eighth place in the Premier League last season and the Gunners are looking to better that position this time around.
He continued: “If you look at the performances and results we have had against some of the more difficult opponents, you would say, ‘How is that possible?’
“But then for different reasons, some in details, some our own mistakes, we have conceded and given away a lot of points.
“That has put our season under scrutiny and put ourselves in a position we are not comfortable with.
“The form we have had in the Europa League has been very, very positive — we have earned a place in the semi-finals and are really optimistic about the opportunity to get into that final.
“After the positive performance and result we got against Sheffield United, to do it again the way we did it in Prague is reassuring.
“It breeds confidence. There’s a level we can reach, and when we play at that level, we are a really difficult team to play against.
“That is the bar that we have to set ourselves.”