Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Arteta: Women’s semi-final sellout shows Arsenal unity

Mikel Arteta says selling out Emirates Stadium for this evening’s Champions League semi-final second leg between Arsenal Women and Wolfsburg highlights the unity at the club.

Jonas Eidevall’s injury-hit squad bounced back from two goals down to secure an impressive draw in the first leg in Germany and will progress to the final for the first time since 2007 if they can secure a win on home soil in front of a bumper crowd.

A victory would certainly be a timely mood booster for the club as a whole after a difficult couple of weeks that has seen both the men and women stutter in their respective title races and the under-18s fall short in the final of the FA Youth Cup.

“It shows the unity,” said Arteta on Monday morning.

“It shows as well, the way everything is evolving together and the importance of woman’s football in this country, especially what the England national team do, and what we are doing as a club which as a club.

“They’ve been much better than the men’s football team in many moments, with all the trophies that they won. That’s the reality.

“I’m incredibly proud of them doing that [selling out]. And as well, they fully deserve the credit that they are getting. And to play tonight into 60,000 people, it’s something amazing.”

The significance of the occasion has not been lost on Eidevall who in his pre-match press conference paid homage to those who’ve been laying the foundations for years.

“The club has always had a plan and we have so many people who are doing the best we can to advertise it. The players are doing their best to advertise it with the way that we are playing,” he said.

“It is a huge occasion for us as a team and as a club and it is a huge compliment, not only to people here who have been directly involved in selling tickets and generating the interest, but this is built on people who were here before this team, on players, coaches and people at the club for putting this together.”

Tickets for this evening’s match went on sale straight after the quarter-final victory over Bayern Munich, which itself drew a record UK attendance in the UEFA Women’s Champions League of 21,307.

Earlier this season, Arsenal set a new attendance record for a Women’s Super League match when more than 53,000 tickets were sold for the north London derby victory over Sp*rs.

CEO Vinai Venkatesham has also signalled Arsenal’s ambition to host all of the women’s matches at Emirates Stadium in the future.

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