Arsenal fans flock to Emirates in their thousands as they welcome sides for the Europa League semi-finals
Arsenal fans flock to Emirates as they welcome Mikel Arteta’s side ahead of the crucial Europa League semi-final with Villarreal … as supporters continue to protest Gunners owner Stan Kroenke amid interest from Spotify’s Daniel Ek
- Arsenal take on Villarreal in key Europa League semi-final game for the Gunners
- The Gunners are 2-1 behind from the first leg in Spain and have to win tonight to progress
- Mikel Arteta asked fans to welcome a raw team bus earlier this week
- Gunner fans have continued to protest against current owner Stan Kroenke
- The protests against Kroenke stem from Daniel Ek’s interest in buying Arsenal
Arsenal fans produced torches and created a raucous atmosphere outside the Emirates Stadium to welcome their team coach ahead of their Europa League semi-final with Villarreal.
Mikel Arteta’s squad will face Unai Emery’s Villarreal on Thursday-evening in a crucial last four clash, trailing 2-1 from the opening game in Spain last week, meaning they must win the draw to advance to the final of this month.
However, the atmosphere also featured more protest banners against Stan Kroenke’s ownership as the fallout from the now-failed European Super League project continues.
Arsenal fans welcomed their team bus with torches to the Emirates Stadium on Thursday evening
The Gunners take on Villarreal in a crucial Europa League semi-final, 2-1 behind the aggregate
Kroenke, who has been involved in running the club since 2011, was one of the main orchestrators of the controversial breakaway competition, in which all six of England’s greatest teams withdrew from the group 48 hours after signing up.
Arsenal fans protested by the thousands ahead of the Gunners’ league game with Everton on April 23 and continued on Thursday amid Spotify owner Daniel Ek’s plan to bid for Kroenke Sports Entertainment’s Premier League side.
Messages featured on some of Thursday’s banners included ‘Kroenke You Mug, Get Out Of Our Club’, ‘We Want Our Arsenal Back’ and ‘We Need Someone Who Gives AS ***’
Fans continued to hold up banners to protest Gunners current owner Stan Kroenke
Protests have intensified after the controversial Super League saga last month
The Gunners have to beat Villarreal on Thursday-evening to advance to the Europa League final
Swedish businessman Ek has brought Arsenal legends Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira together to help him with his bid, with reports claiming the Kroenke value the club at £ 1.8 billion.
De Kroenke released a statement after Everton’s protests that they do not cherish the idea of selling Arsenal, although it has been revealed that the Premier League club has actually been up for sale for the past two years.
Arsenal all-time record goalscorer Henry claims the Spotify founder, who claims to be an Arsenal supporter, is looking to improve fan engagement with the upper echelons of the club.
Arsenal owner Kroenke (on the banner) has received a lot of criticism from fans over the past decade
Henry told Sky Sports this week: ‘He approached us, we listened to him. First of all, we knew he wanted to get the fans involved. Bring them back on board and know what’s going on.
“He wants to re-inject Arsenal DNA, the identity that I think is long gone. You don’t have Arsenal people between the board there and sometimes that can make things go in the right direction.
“He already reached out, said himself that he collected the money to make sure he can make a good offer, now they have to listen.”
Spotify founder Daniel Ek was outspoken in his desire to take over Arsenal whenever possible
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta called on the fans on Thursday to create a raw atmosphere
Meanwhile, the atmosphere for the Villarreal match was actually prompted by Arsenal head coach Arteta, who wanted fans to show their support when the team bus arrived in North London.
Speaking of a potential fan vibe on Wednesday, Arteta said, ‘I think that would be great. We have missed them so many times. We need them and want the players and the team to feel behind and support them.
‘I think it’s the 10th time the club has played a European semi-final, so it’s a big moment for us. Hopefully we can have them closer than we have in recent months. ‘