Mikel Arteta has hailed the crowd at Wembley Stadium as the best he’s witness in football, especially after a nervy ending for the north London side against Wigan on Saturday.
The Gunners vice captain admitted they have had to suffer recently, however a battling mentality earned them a return date next month to Wembley in the FA Cup final.
Arsenal had to find a response after falling behind to a Jordi Gomez penalty midway through the second half, with Per Mertesacker making up for conceding the penalty with a headed equalizer just 10 minutes from time.
The Arsenal faithful had plenty to cheer about especially during the emphatic penalty shoot out that saw Lukasz Fabianski save two Wigan spot-kicks and book us a place in the final.
Speaking after the win, Arteta told Arsenal Player of the relief and happiness in reaching the final:
We’re really happy. It seems like at the moment we need to suffer and really earn things but I think we’ve done it today.
We were unlucky to go a goal down the way the game was going but I think we showed a lot of character as well. We gave everything we had, we went forward, we created chances. It took us until the end to score and as for the penalties I think we were cool.
I think Lukasz was fantastic and he really helped the team. The atmosphere was one of the best I’ve seen in football.
Arteta understands the fans frustrations especially after a host of disappointing results against big teams this season.
The Spaniard feels the 50,000-odd Gooners in attendance on Saturday had every right to vent their frustration after the side went behind, thankfully the Gunners were able to repay the faith from their fans with a vital comeback.
Arteta offered thanks to the Arsenal faithful:
I think the fans have been great. When they got upset I think they had every reason to do it because in big games when it really matters I think we have disappointed everyone.
To have this atmosphere and to have the privilege to play in front of them today with this kind of support is amazing, so we’re really grateful and thanks for everyone to coming because they are really helping the team.
Arsene Wenger’s side haven’t lifted a trophy since the FA Cup in 2005, but have earned themselves an opportunity to end the drought after a difficult run to the final. They now face Hull City on May 17th.
We’ve got an unbelievable opportunity. We’ve got the hunger and I think we’ve got everything we need to do it. We don’t want to waste that opportunity and we’re going to do it now.
To get in a final is never easy and you look at Wigan and how we had to fight to beat Spurs first which is really tough, then Liverpool, then Everton and then them. They beat Man City and were the better team on the day.
It was never easy, they were the cup holders from last year and there’s a reason for that. Today we went through and I’m really happy so let’s enjoy this.