Arteta not distracted by Europa semi

23 April 2021 00:23:28 GMTPlus10

Arsenal's hopes of qualifying for Europe next season seem to rest on the Europa League yet Mikel Arteta insists his focus is on Friday's clash with Everton.

The Gunners host the Toffees in the Premier League before heading to Spain next week for the first leg of their Europa League semi-final against Villarreal.

Arsenal are ninth in the league and nine points adrift of West Ham in fifth place as they prepare to welcome eight-placed Everton to the Emirates Stadium.

We still have a lot to play for in the league. We are all excited about the way we can finish this season.

Mikel Arteta

Next Thursday's first leg against the Yellow Submarine will be their biggest game of the season so far but Arteta won't let it distract his players.

The Spaniard has presided over a four-game unbeaten run, although Arsenal needed an injury-time goal to salvage a 1-1 draw at home to relegation-threatened Fulham last weekend.

They will be without strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the visit of fellow European hopefuls Everton but Arteta believes his side can extend that unbeaten run to five matches against Carlo Ancelotti's men before he starts planning for their trip to Villarreal.

"I want to focus on Everton," the former Toffees midfielder told reporters. "We still have more than five days to prepare for that game [against Villarreal] and how we do will depend on how we get on against Everton. So that's our only focus.

"We still have a lot to play for in the league. We are all excited about the way we can finish this season. The team is performing well so let's go and win the game."

Arsenal are 1.95 to beat Everton, who have never won at the Emirates. Carlo Ancelotti's visitors are 3.90, with the draw 3.50.