Mikel Arteta reacts to powerful Alexandre Lacazette gesture after Slavia Prague race row

Lacazette produced a powerful gesture (Picture: BT Sport)

Alexandre Lacazette produced a powerful gesture ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League tie against Slavia Prague, taking the knee directly in front of the Czech outfit and staring them down.

While the Arsenal team knelt in unison, in a gesture to raise awareness in combatting racism, the Slavia Prague team stood with their arms around each other’s shoulders.

Slavia Prague saw one of their players, Ondrej Kudela, handed a 10-match ban by Uefa this week for ‘racist behaviour’ towards Rangers’ Glen Kamara.

The length of the ban has been heavily criticised, with Uefa only implementing the minimum suspension – failing to seize an opportunity to punish racism properly.

Arsenal captain for the night Lacazette made a clear, powerful statement by staring down the Czech group before kick-off and then scored two goals for good measure in a 4-0 demolition.

Arteta revealed he had been in conversations about the move before the match and thought it was a ‘good gesture’.

‘They asked me and the club, they wanted to take that initiative,’ said Arteta.

‘They had the right reasons for it so the club was very supportive, I was supportive. Thankfully the referees and Uefa was supportive as well so I think it was a good gesture.

‘They came to me, they wanted to take that initiative. We spoke with the club to make sure 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 Uefa was very supportive as well.

‘The captains came to me and asked me to do that. I just supported them like the club did.’

Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe joined Lacazette on the scoresheet in a rampant night for the Gunners in Prague.

Their reward is a semi-final meeting with former manager Unai Emery’s Villarreal side.

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