Ainsley Maitland-Niles savoured Arsenal’s 4-1 victory over Rapid Vienna and was particularly grateful to play in a more advanced role for the Gunners.
A dominant display saw the Gunners romp to a win that secured top spot in Europa League Group B.
The win though was all the more special given Arsenal were able to play in front of 2,000 fans for the first time since March.
And Maitland-Niles, speaking to BT Sport, was delighted to welcome the return of Arsenal’s ’12th man’.
“We said before the game we would just have fun and enjoy the game,” he said. “We wanted to enjoy the moment and have a good feel for it and we did that and executed it brilliantly.
“We’ve waited a long time [to have the fans back], it’s a great feeling to have them back. It was only a few thousand tonight but we hope more will come eventually. It’s just great to have that sound back and have our 12th man back.”
Asked what he brought to the game, Maitland-Niles admitted he enjoyed his performance.
“I had a bit of legs in midfield, got about, tackling, winning the ball back,” he stated. “I was getting up and down the pitch and being a bit more dynamic.”
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Lacazette delighted with goal
The Gunners opened the scoring early on through an excellent Alexandre Lacazette goal. He was also delighted to give the fans something special to cheer.
“It was amazing. We were so happy to see the fans today.”
“It’s really nice when the fans are behind us.”
Alexandre Lacazette reacts to scoring the first goal since the return of spectators at the Emirates…
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 3, 2020
“It was amazing – we were so happy to see the fans today it really helped us during the game,” he said. “Even in bad moments they pushed us to play good obviously we played well it was good football.
“We had two players come back from injury [Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers] so we’re really happy for them so it was a good night.”
Discussing his goal, he added: “It was really good, really nice when fans are behind us. It was not easy for me this last couple of weeks but to see the fans behind me and the team. I really enjoyed tonight so thanks to them.
“Tonight we wanted to enjoy it and to get our fifth win in a row which we did. Now we have time to focus again for the derby on the weekend. We just need to rest and see what happens at the weekend.”
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