Mikel Arteta has claimed that it will be ‘extraordinary’ to have fans back inside stadiums for the first time when Arsenal play host to Rapid Vienna at the Emirates.
The Gunners haven’t seen fans at home since beating West Ham 1-0 back in March, and will be pleased to have them return, albeit in a much more limited situation.
Those in tier two under the new initiative are allowed a limited number of fans to return, which includes all London clubs, and this week’s Europa League clash will be the first fixture at the Emirates to accommodate this.
The manager insists that it will still ‘feel strange’ after so long without them, but that the club is ‘ready’ for many more when rules allow it, although he isn’t undermining the virus.
“It is going to be extraordinary to have them back, it will feel strange,” he said. “The club has done amazing work to facilitate everybody at short notice to be able to attend the stadium and I am sure it will work really well.
“I am feeling sorry as well for thousands of fans that I am sure would like to make it, but can’t be there.
“We are ready to host as many as we possibly can. It is going to depend on how the pandemic develops, and the new measurements when we start to open things up a little bit and see how people react to that. Hopefully we can do that.
“Who knows how it is going to develop? What we can do as a club, we will do to our maximum obviously.”
Are these rules being too stringent considering the size of the stadium? Do we think that fans will improve the side’s form?