Search

Wenger: Arsenal have to take Europa League chance

PUBLISHED: 07:50 08 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:44 08 March 2018

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger issues instructions (pic Adam Davy/PA)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger issues instructions (pic Adam Davy/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Arsene Wenger insists winning the Europa League is an opportunity his under-fire Arsenal side have to take.

The Gunners face AC Milan at the San Siro tonight in the first leg of their last-16 clash.

The north London giants head into the game having lost their last four games in all competitions, including their Carabao Cup final defeat at the hands of Manchester City.

That run has also left them 13 points adrift of the Premier League top four as supporters have started to turn on Wenger once again.

The slump in Premier League form now means winning the Europa League, as Manchester United did last season, is the clearest path to returning to European football’s top table.

Wenger has called on his players to step up and do just that as they look to stop their season petering out with two months of the campaign remaining.

“It makes me think about last year,” said Wenger when asked if having a trophy to play for was similar to last season’s run to a third FA Cup success in four years.

“Last year we won the FA Cup, we made 75 points and missed out of the Champions League by one point.

“Seventy-five points is still a very good score what we will not reach this season. This is an opportunity we have to take, yes, of course.

“It increases the pressure on it even more on this competition. At the moment, it is certainly difficult when you go through a patch like that, but I believe as well it is a good opportunity to show you have the quality and the strengths.

“You can only show that when it is difficult. It is a good opportunity to show we can deal with that and as well, on the longer term, it will make the team even stronger.”

Milan sit seventh in Serie A but have turned a corner since Gennaro Gattuso took over in November and are unbeaten since December 23.

The former Milan midfielder is enjoying a fine start to life at the San Siro, so much so Wenger – 28 years Gattuso’s senior – joked he could not offer the Italian any pointers at present.

“I don’t give him much advice,” he said. “He was a great player here and he’s doing very well at moment. I’m not doing well so I can get advice from him.”

Wenger also confirmed Hector Bellerin has not travelled due to a knee injury, while Nacho Monreal’s back problem means he was also left in London.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who began his career at Milan, is cup-tied with fellow striker Alexandre Lacazette sidelined with a knee issue.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

50 minutes ago

London Senior Cup first round: Haringey Borough 4 Beckenham Town 1

London Senior Cup first round: Harrow Borough 3 (O’Connor 5, Kearney 10, 11) Hendon (Hippolyte-Patrick 21, White 80)

08:10

Middlesex opener Sam Robson admitted to a mixture of emotions after scoring his first century of the season on day one of their County Championship Division Two match with Derbyshire.

Yesterday, 21:15

Champions League Group B: Inter Milan 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1

Yesterday, 19:27

Sam Robson’s first century of the season saw Middlesex get the better of the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match with Derbyshire at Lord’s.

Yesterday, 17:00

Centre-back Sean Cronin says Wingate & Finchley’s defenders are commited to improving their goal tally as much as their forwards, but admits it’s more imperative that they maintain a consistency with keeping clean sheets after recording their first shut-out of the campaign in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Merstham.

Yesterday, 15:00

The former Netherlands international has struggled since deputising for Hugo Lloris this month

Betfred League One: Workington Town 38 London Skolars 6

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now