Mikel Arteta has credited Arsenal’s supporters with playing a huge role in his side’s ever-improving home form.
The Gunners look unrecognisable from the disheveled, confidence-starved outfit which lost four successive matches at the Emirates last season against Leicester, Aston Villa, Wolves and Burnley.
After defeat against Chelsea in the second game of the current campaign, Arteta’s new-look side have taken 22 points out of a possible 24 at the Emirates and conceded just four goals.
Victories over AFC Wimbledon and Leeds, meanwhile, have helped Arsenal reach the last eight of the Carabao Cup and only League One outfit Sunderland stand between Arteta’s young team and a place in the semi-finals.
A capacity crowd, despite the increasing threat of Omicron, is expected at the Emirates tonight, with 5,000 Sunderland fans likely to be in attendance, and Arteta is delighted with the increasingly passionate atmosphere generated by his club’s supporters.
He said: ‘I am convinced and the players are talking about it more and more in the dressing room. It is about the atmosphere that we are playing with at the Emirates.
‘It has been a huge turnaround it’s just awesome to walk through that tunnel and expect that energy, that passion and that connection with the fann.
‘Our strong form at home is just linked to that and I’m a strong believer of that. The more wins we have at home the more we enjoy playing and the more capacity we have to be together the more difficult it is going to be for our opponents.’
Arsenal have so far avoided having any of their fixtures being cancelled at short notice, but Arteta admits preparing for matches has become increasingly difficult amid such an uncertain backdrop.
He added: ‘I think it is very difficult for everybody. It is very difficult for yourself and the way you have to do your work, it is very difficult for Vinai.
‘He is dealing with a lot of meetings, a lot of responsibilities to try to defend the interest of the club in the right way, it is difficult for the players, for myself, for the staff because we don’t know really who is going to be available to do what, and we are all trying to help each other and get the best out of the situation. ‘
‘We have to respect the decisions I made because we have to believe that those decisions are based first of all on the wellbeing of all of us, that we are involved and secondly because we have to protect the game, and that is important as well.’
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