Mikel Arteta hoping Arsenal have secret weapon vs Rapid Vienna as fans return

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Arsenal are the first Premier League club in Tier 2 to welcome fans back into their stadium.

2000 Gunners fans will filter into the Emirates this evening as they take on Rapid Vienna in the Europa League.

Arsenal supporters have been banished from the north London venue for almost nine months and were allowed to buy tickets on a first come, first served basis.

Mikel Arteta's side are all-but through to the knockout stages in Europe following four wins from four in the competition but fans will no doubt seeing this as an important game.

And the Arsenal chief expects to fans to help his team get through this spell of poor form.

“I expect them to be very supportive of the team, because in the end it’s the only way to get out of this situation,” he said this week.

"It’s not a secret. When you see the top teams, the stable teams that win trophies, how[fans] act towards the team, name me one where they go against the team.

"I haven’t seen it, so the only way to do it is with them and we need them.”

Arsenal are struggling in the Premier League having lost their last three matches at the Emirates.

But Arteta is confident he is still the right man for the job, despite recent criticism from fans and pundits.

“I expected to be a little bit further than we are in the table, and a bit further with what we’ve done in certain games where we could have deserved more,” he said.

“But the worst thing [to think] is: ‘What if?’ This is our reality. In the end we can find excuses but I hate to do that.

"We are here, let’s get out of this situation, let’s face that challenge and let’s move on.”

Arsenal play north London rivals Tottenham on Sunday.

  • Arsenal FC
  • Europa League
  • Mikel Arteta
  • Premier League
  • London

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