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AFP
May 6, 2021

Arteta urges Arsenal to take ‘biggest step forward

AFP
May 6, 2021

LONDON: Mikel Arteta believes his Arsenal side can take their “biggest step forward” under his management if they end a turbulent season by booking their place in the Europa League final.

The Gunners welcome former manager Unai Emery back to the Emirates Stadium on Thursday for the second leg of their semi-final with Villarreal.

The Spanish side hold a slender 2-1 advantage from the first leg at El Madrigal, where Nicolas Pepe’s penalty gave Arsenal what could prove to be a crucial away goal.

If Arsenal win they will almost certainly face Manchester United, who are on the brink of reaching the final in Gdansk after beating Roma 6-2 in the first leg of their tie.

Arsenal have not played Champions League football since 2017 but winning the Europa League would take the club back into the elite competition next season.

Arteta’s team won the FA Cup in August at the end of his first season in charge but they have failed to build on that success and are 12 points off the Premier League’s top four with just four games remaining.