Mikel Arteta has defended the right of Arsenal supporters to engage in protests against the club’s ownership.
Gunners fans have been vocal in their displeasure with the Kroenke family and their perceived mismanagement of the club after the recent European Super League fiasco and demonstrated at the Emirates stadium ahead of the recent Premier League game against Everton.
With reports fans are set to gather to protest once again before Arsenal’s crucial Europa League semi-final second leg tie with Villarreal, Arteta says fans are entitled to make their voices heard.
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“I think that they have to be able to express themselves and if it’s done in a pacific way they have the right to do it," he said in his pre-match press conference.
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We will try to prepare the game the best possible way I wouldn’t like to use any excuses if something happens with that.
“I know that the only purpose of the fans is to defend the club and they want the best for the team. We will try to do the same.”
As well as the failed ESL plans, a poor domestic campaign has also increased the anger among the Arsenal fanbase towards the Kroenkes, leading to demands for the Americans to sell the club.
However, despite rumours of a buyout by Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, Arteta maintains he has a good relationship with the current owners and is ignoring any takeover talk.
"They've [Kroenke's] been in touch with us in a really convincing way as I said last week. There's a really good communication line.
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"We have to try to be away from all the rumours and everything that is happening around the club," he added.
The best way to help the club is to win football matches and be competitive again."
Arsenal hope to overturn a 2-1 first leg deficit to reach the final and amid the rumoured protests, fans are expected to show their support for the players by cheering the team bus as it arrives at the ground given they won’t be inside for the match.
"I think that would be great,” said Arteta. We’ve been missing them so much, we need them.”
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