Arsenal News

Steven Gerrard and Racist Abuse Victim Glen Kamara Loved How Arsenal Stared Down Slavia Prague

Arsenal took the knee in front of Slavia's standing players on Thursday night
Arsenal took the knee in front of Slavia's standing players on Thursday night / MICHAL CIZEK/Getty Images

Steven Gerrard has admitted that he "loved" Arsenal's strong gesture of taking the knee in front of the Slavia Prague players prior to their Europa League game on Thursday.

Mikel Arteta's side thrashed Slavia 5-1 on aggregate and advanced to the semi-finals of the competition. The Czech Republic giants beat Gerrard's Rangers in the previous round, but the game was marred by Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara accusing Slavia's Ondrej Kudela of calling him a 'f***ing monkey' during the game.

Kudela was banned for 10 UEFA matches for racist abuse on Wednesday, and the very next day, Arsenal took the knee in front of Slavia's players - who chose to stand arm in arm with each other during the gesture.

Gerrard told a press conference on Friday: "I loved everything about the game. I loved Arsenal's performance, I loved the way they went about it. I admired how they approached before the game, during the game and after the game."

"I'm sure Glen [Kamara] did as well but I was really proud watching Arsenal's performance last night. Everything about it. The way they prepared for the game, the way the manager spoke, the way the players behaved before, during and after - and then to back it up with that level of performance. I sat there and really enjoyed that game, it was a sensational performance."

Arsenal boss Arteta explained that his players had requested permission to make a stand. He said, "They asked me and the club that they wanted to take that initiative. They had the right reasons for it, so the club was very supportive. I was supportive and thankfully the referee, and UEFA, they've been supportive. So I think it was a good gesture."

Arteta concluded, "They came to me, they wanted to take that initiative. We spoke with the club to make sure that we could follow the rules of UEFA and we can do it in the right way. We decided to take that approach, which I really like from the players, and I must say that UEFA was very supportive as well. The captains came to me and asked me to do that, and I just supported them like the club did."