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Arteta urges ‘big players’ to step up for Arsenal against Slavia Prague

Mikel Arteta - Arsenal
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Progress – and eventually success – in the Europa League presents the Gunners with their best bet to achieve European qualification.

Mikel Arteta has called on Arsenal’s “big players” to step up in the “very important” match against Slavia Prague on Thursday.

Arsenal await arguably the most crucial fixture of their season so far as they prepare to face Slavia Prague in the Europa League quarter-final second-leg.

The first leg at the Emirates back last week ended in a 1-1 stalemate, with both goals coming in the final few minutes of the match.

An exit from Europe, should it happen, could prove fatal for Arteta’s future at the Emirates. The Gunners sit down at ninth in the Premier League standings, at least seven points short of a European spot.

“It’s very important for us and this is our club. There’s no individual interest, it’s all a collective interest that we want to do well in every competition,” said the manager in his pre-match press conference.

“Tomorrow’s game can put us in a position to go into the semi-final of a European competition. This is exactly where this club has to be and that’s why tomorrow we have to do our best to earn that.

“We’ve shown that in big games, big players have to step in and create the magic moments and you need that. So let’s hope that we can have them.”