Mikel Arteta has expressed his sympathy for Arsenal fans who couldn’t be at Wembley on Saturday night to watch their side beat Manchester City and make their 21st FA Cup final.

Arsenal's Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 18, 2020. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / POOL / AFP)
Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 18, 2020. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / POOL / AFP)

Before the match, nobody gave us a chance. While Liverpool, in their post-title malaise, could maybe have been expected to be sloppy, City are supposed to picking up form ahead of a Champions League surge.

With Arsenal players already seemingly exhausted midweek, where they were going to get the energy from to stand up to City, nobody knew. We all feared the worst.

Not only did Arteta help them find the energy, he then made found a way for them to focus for a full 90 minutes.

“I am really thankful to the players for the effort they are putting in, the performances they are putting in, the chemistry that they are generating,” Arteta told Arsenal Digital.

“They are trying to play every week, every day. It doesn’t matter, we have players with injections, players that were sick, but they’re willing to play. At the moment I have a feeling that I can pick anybody that is ready to play and perform at that level.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 18: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal celebrate following the FA Cup Semi Final match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on July 18, 2020 in London, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Matthew Childs/Pool via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 18: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal celebrate following the FA Cup Semi Final match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on July 18, 2020 in London, England.  (Photo by Matthew Childs/Pool via Getty Images)

“We made five or six changes the other day, we made the same again today and look at the level of all of the players.

“I’m so happy today. To beat [City] in a semi-final and to beat the best two teams in Europe probably in three or four days is something I am very proud of.

“I am sorry for the fans because we could’ve enjoyed a beautiful moment today with them. They are not here but I just want to tell them that we are thinking about them.

Exceptional Arsenal beat the odds and Manchester City

“It feels incredible. I’m so proud today. To bring the club back into a final… we’ll see who we will face but now we make sure we finish the league the way we should.”

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.