Earning a trip to Wembley to play in the FA Cup semi-finals is an experience most players in the Arsenal squad have not had and that should inspire them to win the quarter-final against Sheffield United, manager Mikel Arteta said on Friday.
Arsenal travel to Sheffield for the tie on Sunday and Arteta, who won the FA Cup twice as a player with Arsenal, said he would try and explain the competition’s prestige as the club looks to win the trophy for a record-extending 14th time.
“It’s a competition that is linked to this football club and the players are excited. Going to Wembley, even if it’s empty, is special,” Arteta told reporters in a virtual news conference.
“I will try to transmit how beautiful it is. A lot of the players haven’t experienced what Wembley means and I have to try to convince them that it’s worth the effort to go again after three days, after the effort they put in at Southampton.
“I’m sure they are very willing to do that, the rewards are really, really nice and let’s try to go again and try.”
Arsenal beat Southampton 2-0 on Thursday but midfielder Matteo Guendouzi was not named in the squad. The Frenchman escaped a Football Association charge following his altercation with Brighton & Hove Albion’s Neal Maupay last weekend.
Arteta refused to discuss reports about the 21-year-old’s potential departure from the north London club and said the matter was being handled internally.
“Whatever internal issues we have we will deal with them privately and I am never going to make any of that public,” Arteta said.
“All the players that are here, I’m counting on them. If they want to jump on the boat, they are more than welcome and that’s always my mindset.
“I’m here to help all of them, to improve individually and collectively and that’s my job.”