Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has admitted he does not know what state of mind his “shocked” Arsenal players are in ahead of Friday’s clash against Everton.
The Basque coach was referencing the events of the past week relating to his club’s involvement and subsequent withdrawal from a proposed European Super League.
The Gunners were one of 12 founder clubs for the proposal, but alongside all other clubs in England’s so-called ‘Big Six’ they withdrew from the plans on Tuesday night – less than 48 hours after announcing their commitment.
As with all other English clubs – Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham – involved with the European Super League, Arsenal endured a wave of condemnation from their own supporters.
Despite the club backing down on their stance, fans have continued to protest about the ownership of the club and particularly venting their ire towards Stan Kroenke.
The American billionaire businessman is heading the club and just as with the Glazer family at Manchester United and FSG – led by John Henry – at Liverpool, is reported to have been amongst the most supportive of the idea of a European Super League.
Arsenal have not played since the initial announcement from the club, with their last outing a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to relegation-threatened Fulham.
When Arteta was asked what state of mind the players were in during Thursday’s pre-match press conference, he responded: “I don’t know. We tried to speak to them, Vinai explained to all of them what happened, so hopefully they are in a good place.
“It was a big shock for all of us to go through.”
Despite being in the semi-finals of the Europa League – where they will face former boss Unai Emery at Villarreal – the club have endured a desperately disappointing domestic campaign.
The Gunners are languishing in ninth position in the Premier League – three points behind Everton, who have played one game less.