A 4-3 aggregate win over Benfica, who kept Arsenal afloat in the Europa League on Thursday evening, could serve as a lifeline for coach Mikel Arteta.
Eliminated in eleventh place in the Premier League and eliminated from the FA Cup, the Gunners saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 87th-minute win 3-2 in Athens and a 4-3 aggregate victory .
“In any case, the season is going a lot better,” said the Spanish coach. “This competition is sure to help the Premier League hold everyone together and play something.
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“Today it would have been very hard, what happened to both legs, in order not to be in competition. I am very happy to be through. “Aubameyang gave Arsenal the lead ahead of Bukayo Saka’s pass, but Benfica equalized with Diogo Goncalvez’s excellent free-kick.
Ceballos gifted Benfica their second goal but Kieran Tierney’s response and Aubameyang’s header from another Saka assistant saved the day.
“I’m especially happy for Dani because he is a player who does this job as if he were the most important thing in his life. If he had made this mistake, if the team had cost the elimination, it would have been very difficult mentally “said Arteta said.
“Then you need players in the team, as we did with Bukayo at Auba. Kieran Tierney scored to save him. We created a really bright moment out of a difficult situation. “
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers blamed his side’s shock exit from the league following Thursday’s 2-0 home loss to Slavia Prague, but said competition was never his top priority.
Lukas Provod and Abdallah Sima drew 0-0 in the first leg in Prague in the second half at King Power Stadium to get the Czech side into the last 16.
It is my responsibility. I choose the team to get the result and that clearly didn’t work out as well as I would have liked
– Brendan Rodgers, Leicester coach
Rodgers made a number of changes to the team that beat Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday. Harvey Barnes, Timothy Castagne and Ricardo Pereira fell to the bench while Youri Tielemans was put in a more advanced position.
Rodgers said his team selection failed. “It is my responsibility. I choose the team to try to get the result and that clearly hasn’t worked as well as I would have liked, ”Rodgers said.
“We changed teams a lot because we had injuries all year round. We had to find a way to refresh the team. I would still expect us to do better, but if you miss the players who we are, it will affect the quality of your game.
“There are no excuses… It shouldn’t be. The best team won. “Rodgers said his players would now focus on the Premier League and the FA Cup.
“If we had to set priorities, these would be the two we want to succeed in,” he said. “The Europa League was one we wanted to do well in, it shouldn’t be, but now we can go all-in in the league and in the FA Cup.” Leicester, who are third in the Premier League with 49 points, will host Arsenal on Sunday.