Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is hoping to turn Emirates Stadium into a ‘fortress’ as the Gunners prepare to welcome fans for the first time in nine months.
Wolves face Arsenal in the Emirates this Sunday, but it will still take place behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the new tier system and a change in government regulations mean 2,000 supporters can watch Thursday’s Europa League clash with Rapid Vienna.
There will undoubtedly be a rush for tickets, sold on a first come, first served basis to eligible supporters.
Arteta will be looking forward to welcoming them back with a return to victory in the league, having taken just one point from his last two matches.
The Gunners also need to end a 476-minute scoreless Premier League run in open play – and the Spaniard is keen on getting the Emirates back to form.
When asked if a win over Wolves would kick off Arsenal’s Premier League campaign, Arteta replied: “Yes – after the disappointing result we had at home, well both last we had at home, we need to fix that.
“We need to make the Emirates a fortress. It’s a whole different feeling to play at home with our without fans, it’s not the same but it’s what we have right now and we need a win on Sunday for sure .
Arsenal’s preparations for the game suffered a slight hiccup when their flight home from Norway on Thursday night was delayed due to fog.
Originally planning to return home right after their Europa League win over Molde, the players and staff stayed overnight before heading to Luton and heading to Friday’s practice as originally scheduled.
The victory in Norway ensured Arsenal’s progress into the round of 16, with their free scoring form at odds with their current domestic run.
“In Europa we find ourselves more fluid and more creative in the last third, I would say,” said Arteta when asked to explain the difference.
“More ‘Let’s go and express ourselves’. Obviously the opponent is not the same but it is something to watch.
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“It’s true that in the Premier League, teams win games with very small margins apart from one or two.
“We’ve played every game except the last 25 minutes against Aston Villa and at the end the boxes define what we do in the games.
“It is true that in the opposition zone we have not been as ruthless and resilient as we need to be. We paid for this with some results.
“We try to encourage them to play with this freedom. We have a lot of rotations, some because of injuries, others because of their performances.
“We played big teams in the first nine games. This is something that we obviously need to improve, and we are trying to improve it. “