Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos has this afternoon revealed that he and the rest of the Gunners’ squad hope to secure Europa League glory for Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Arsenal vs Chelsea
Unai Emery’s men are set to travel to Baku, Azerbaijan, in 3 days’ time, for the first of 2 all-English European final showpieces.
After the capital sides meet on Wednesday night, Liverpool and Tottenham will do likewise 3 days later, in the Champions League’s finale.
Arsenal booked their spot in the Baku clash courtesy of a 7-3 aggregate drubbing of Spanish giants Valencia, after previously putting Napoli to the sword in the tournament’s quarter-finals in equally-impressive fashion.
A win over Chelsea on Wednesday would mark the first piece of silverware for the Gunners in the Unai Emery-era.
Perhaps more importantly, though, securing the Europa League crown would also ensure Arsenal’s place in next season’s Champions League group stage.
‘Win for him’
The Londoners’ efforts are set to be hindered, however, by the absence of Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Political tensions between Azerbaijan and Mkhitaryan’s native Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region have seen the attacking midfielder opt against travelling with Unai Emery’s squad.
The rest of Arsenal’s stars, though, will use their teammate’s absence as extra motivation to clinch European glory on Wednesday night, according to Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Speaking earlier today, the Greek stopper explained:
‘Of course it’s a big loss for us. We are very sad and now we have to win for him.’
‘We have to go (there) and play our game. To believe we can do it. And I think if we give 100 per cent and have a good day, and also luck, because in one game anything can happen, (then) we can do it.’
‘[Chelsea] have very good players and a good manager.’
‘We respect (them). But after we plan to play our game. To play our game, to create our chances, to be focused, to defend well.’
‘To play altogether and in the end to win the game. It’s difficult for us, but it’s also difficult for them.’
Quotes via Goal.com