August 3, 2021

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Arteta still confident of Europa League progression

2 min read

Mikel Arteta insists he has full belief his Arsenal side will still progress in the Europa League after they conceded a last-gasp equaliser in the first leg of their quarter-final clash with Slavia Prague.

Nicolas Pepe had come off the bench to seemingly win the game for the Gunners with his strike four minutes from time – but the hosts could not hold onto their advantage as Tomas Holes headed in an equaliser to earn Slavia a 1-1 draw.

The first leg at the Emirates Stadium had looked set to end in a goalless stalemate as Arsenal passed up a number of fine chances.

But club-record signing Pepe would score with a deft chip with just four minutes remaining to open the scoring, only for Holes to level deep into stoppage time.

Now Arsenal will need to score at least once in Prague next week if they are to advance into the last four – but Arteta has no doubt his team are capable of winning in the Czech capital.

“I totally believe that we can go there and win the match, if not I wouldn’t be sitting here,” he said.

“The mindset has to be to go there and score goals and win the game because we have to score if we want to go through.

“I think psychologically to go there with 1-0 is completely different to go there with 1-1. Now we know we have to go there and win the game – that we have to score goals and we cannot play any game, we have to go there with the determination to be an attacking team and hurt them.”

Arteta opted to drop captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the bench for the game, which saw both Willan and Alexandre Lacazette hit the woodwork as the hosts missed a number of clear-cut chances.

Slavia, who have seen off Leicester and Rangers in previous rounds, had a couple of good opportunities of their own and would ultimately grab what could prove to be a crucial away goal as Holes arrived at the back post to leave Arteta crestfallen on the touchline.

“When you create big chances in Europe you really have to put them away,” added the Spaniard.

“I think we made much more than the result that we got but we made it the most difficult thing was to score the first goal and then in the last four or five minutes to manage the game much better than we did.

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