Roma comeback keeping Arsenal on their toes in Russia

Arsene Wenger’s team lead CSKA Moscow 4-1 ahead of Europa League second leg

Arsene Wenger says his team are not “under threat of complacency”. Photograph: PA

Arsene Wenger says his team are not “under threat of complacency”. Photograph: PA

 

Roma’s remarkable comeback victory over Barcelona is being used by both Arsenal and CSKA Moscow as motivation for their Europa League tie on Thursday night.

The Gunners are in Russia for the second leg of their quarter-final holding a commanding 4-1 lead from the first leg at the Emirates Stadium last week.

While that result leaves Arsenal strong favourites to reach the final four, Barcelona surrendered the same advantage as they lost 3-0 at Roma to crash out of the Champions League on away goals.

Veteran CSKA defender Aleksei Berezutski may have admitted the hosts would need a “miracle” to replicate Roma’s heroics but Arsene Wenger still wants his players to head into the match with their minds on the job at hand.

“It can happen in the game, that is why we love football, it is unpredictable,” the Arsenal boss said.

“In every game, everything is questioned again. It is new every time. We are in a position where I don’t think we are under threat of complacency, it is an important target for us to go as far as possible.

“(Roma’s comeback) may be a warning for us but let us not go overboard as well. Yes, we have a big job to do but we are in a strong position and it is how we approach the game that will be vital tomorrow.”

Defender Shkodran Mustafi echoed the comments of his manager and he feels Barcelona’s capitulation came at a good time for Arsenal as they are preparing for the second leg.

“I think it came as perfect timing for us,” he said.

“You are never safe especially when you win at home and have the away game, you have to be very careful how you show up and I think the game that we saw yesterday was perfect timing for us to show us that we have to be really focused and really concentrated to finish off the job we did in the first leg.”

While the result will act as a warning for Arsenal, it could prove inspirational for CSKA as they look to complete their own shock comeback.

“Roma played a magnificent match and made a miracle,” said Berezutski.

“We don’t have a lot of chances to repeat the same miracle, but sometimes miracles happen in football.

“Of course Arsenal are extremely motivated because winning the Europa League is the way into the Champions League, so this is their motivation.”

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