Arsenal are desperate for a two-goal victory over BATE tomorrow night, and, as Unai Emery keeps telling us, it is the vociferous support from the home fans that has helped the players to raise their game when they are at the Emirates.
But apparently that may not be the case tomorrow, as the Sun reported today…
ARSENAL fear they could be playing at a half-empty Emirates against BATE Borisov on Thursday.
And that could seriously hit their hopes of overturning a 1-0 deficit from last week’s Europa League last-32 first leg in Belarus.
Yet boss Unai Emery is banking on Gunners fans to inspire his team in a must-win tie.
He said: “I trust in our players and in our stadium with our supporters and I am sure the result is going to be different.”
But Uefa chiefs’ insistence on the match kicking off at 5.55pm means that thousands of supporters are likely to miss the game.
Although Thursday’s tie is officially a sell-out, Emirates bosses have no idea how many will actually turn up for the early start.
Last season when we played BATE the tie was officially a sell out, but it looked like the stadium was half empty in reality. And with many fans wanting to protest about the teams recent performances there will be a lot of complacency around, never mind the quality of Arsenal or their opponents.
To make it even worse, the kick-off time of 5.55 will make it even harder for fans, most of whom don’t even get home from work by that time. How many will just think it’s easier to just flop down and watch it in front of the telly?
So will the lack of vocal support make it even harder for the players to pick themselves up? On top of all the other problems at the club?