football next season after they edged past Sheffield United to reach the semi-finals." data-reactid="19">Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has launched a battle cry to his players to go on to win the FA Cup and secure European football next season after passing Sheffield United to reach the semifinals.
The Gunners secured a place in their first post-Arsene Wenger-era national semifinal with a 2-1 away win on Bramall Lane.
Nicolas Pepe’s half-time penalty seemed to be all that separated the sides, but the late drama saw David McGoldrick equalize with three minutes remaining, before substitute Dani Ceballos won him for Arteta’s team in injury.
Arteta said: “I am really satisfied with the result, this is a difficult place to come and get a win. After conceding so late, showing the reaction is not easy and it is very pleasant and we are back in Wembley.
“It is a great opportunity to try and win a title and play in Europe. We have yet to improve in many areas, but each win gives you credit and encouragement. I hope we can have some momentum now.
“I can never criticize the effort of the players. We still have gaps to improve, but I’m happy to get the win. The attitude and commitment of each individual player was exact and the players did exactly what they were asked to do.
“I think every win improves the team’s spirit and happiness and we have an opportunity now.”
Pepe’s penalty was the eighth goal of the season since his £ 72 million arrival last summer and Arteta believes the 25-year-old is starting to realize his potential in the club.
“I’m excited about what he’s bringing to the team – I think he had a click,” said Arteta. “It gives us that creativity in the last third that the big teams need. It may be unpredictable but it has incredible potential.
“There are things he has to work on, but it could make a difference for this team.”
A negative aspect for Arteta was the injury that forced David Luiz at the beginning of the second half.
The defender had to be replaced following a harmless-looking accident while allowing the ball to run out for a goal kick.
“He injured his ankle,” said the Arsenal boss. “Tomorrow he will be evaluated, but he suffered.”
football due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sheffield United may have been favourites to progress but they have been surprisingly poor since the resumption, now losing three of their four matches in all competitions." data-reactid="35">Before the reduction in calcium due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sheffield United may have been the favorite to progress, but they were surprisingly poor after the recovery, losing three of four games in all competitions now.
However, Blade boss Chris Wilder felt Sunday’s performance was a step in the right direction despite the disappointment of the defeat.
football matches and we pushed Arsenal to the limit. They had to defend for their lives at times." data-reactid="38">“It’s a positive step,” said Wilder. “Of course we are gutted, but there are ways to lose football matches and we have pushed Arsenal to the limit. Sometimes they had to defend for their lives.
“It was quite comfortable for Manchester United during the week, but I thought it was an uncomfortable afternoon for Arsenal.
“I would like to make it an afternoon more uncomfortable from a technical point of view, but I think we are not showing it because of the lack of trust at the moment.
football matches at this level." data-reactid="41">“As I said, there is a way to lose matches and today we have shown many qualities that it is necessary to win football matches at this level.
“I had the complete belief that we would be back in the game, especially in the second half, when I thought we would dominate. But in the end Arsenal showed that little bit more confidence, after we had given the ball, which we missed and the we won. “