There is very little doubt in any Arsenal fan’s mind that tonight’s game against Benfica is Arsenal’s very last chance to stay in with a hope of getting anything positive out of this season, with nothing but a tiny chance left that we can still end up in the top six in the League.
To be honest, the Gunners have hardly proved this season that they have the mentality and confidence to win this sort of game, but Arteta thinks we need that mind-set if we are to overcome our experienced opponents tonight. “It’s a big season and a really important [game] mentally and confidence-wise.” the boss told Arsenal.com.
“It’s going to dictate if we’re in another competition or not for a few more weeks. This is really what we need. It’s a really tough opponent. It’s a Champions League team who have been playing in these types of games for many years with a manager with huge experience. For us tomorrow, it’s a final.”
So does Arteta himself feel the extra pressure going into a must-win game like this? “I always feel that it is [on me], every time you’re playing in a competition and you can go out you know the consequences, and with this club [the aim] is always to win the competition that you are in so that doesn’t really change much.”
So, the pressure is on, and us fans will be feeling it as much as the players when they walk out to the pitch tonight. I’m not sure if I can handle the pressure, but I certainly hope that the players can!