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Rangers boss Steven Gerrard 'loved everything' about Arsenal's Europa League win over Slavia Prague

Arsenal beat Slavia Prague 4-0 to reach the Europa League semi-finals; the Czech side had faced Rangers at the last-16 stage; Slavia defender Ondrej Kudela was given a 10-match ban by UEFA for "racist behaviour" towards Glen Kamara; Rangers to host Arsenal in commemorative July friendly

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Rangers boss Steven Gerrard says he is 'proud' of Arsenal's performance both on and off the pitch in their Europa League quarter-final against Slavia Prague in the Czech Republic

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard said he was "really proud" of Arsenal's performance "before, during and after" the Europa League win over Slavia Prague on Thursday night.

Slavia knocked Rangers out of the tournament at the last-16 stage, with the second leg of that tie marred by an incident where Ondrej Kudela directed a racial insult at Glen Kamara.

Kudela, who insisted he swore at a Rangers player but denied using racist language, was given a 10-match ban by UEFA on Wednesday and subsequently missed Slavia's 4-0 quarter-final defeat by Arsenal.

Before the match, Arsenal's captain for the night Alexandre Lacazette took a knee in front of the entire Slavia line-up, with his team-mates doing so behind him, before scoring twice. Nicolas Pepe and Bukayo Saka were also on target.

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UEFA executive Alexey Sorokin has said the 10-match ban for Ondrej Kudela of Slavia Prague was correct and it is a 'waste of time' to criticise the length of the suspension. Kudela denies the allegation of racist abuse

"I loved everything about the game," Gerrard said in Friday's press conference. "I loved the Arsenal performance, 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 did as well."

Kamara - an Arsenal academy graduate - liked three Twitter posts on Thursday evening, including Arsenal's full-time graphic and a tweet which read: "This is for you Glen Kamara."

Gerrard added: "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 are really enjoyed that performance. I thought it was sensational."

Rangers to host Arsenal in commemorative friendly

Rangers will welcome Arsenal to Ibrox in July for a commemorative friendly as part of Rangers' 150th anniversary celebrations.

The game will take place in Glasgow on Saturday, July 17 but away fans will be unable to attend due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

A Rangers club statement read: "Rangers and Arsenal enjoy a long, rich history and first played each other in 1933 in what was known as the "Game of Champions".

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Image: Ibrox will host Rangers' friendly with Arsenal in July

"This fixture became an annual event for many years and was testimony to the deep friendship held by Rangers manager Bill Struth and Arsenal's Herbert Chapman.

"Arsenal were also notably Rangers' opposition when we celebrated our centenary, therefore it is with great pride that we will host Arsenal again as part of the celebrations of our historic 150th anniversary season.

"We look forward to welcoming former Rangers player Mikel Arteta and his team to Ibrox in July and more detailed match information, including ticketing for home supporters and broadcast information, will be released in due course."

Arteta: Players had 'right reason' to take a knee

Mikel Arteta says his Arsenal players had the "right reason" to take a knee in front of their Slavia Prague opponents.

Asked about the gesture, Arteta explained that his players had requested permission to make a stand.

"They asked me and the club that they wanted to take that initiative," he added.

"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.

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Former Arsenal defender Viv Anderson believes UEFA's decision to give Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela a 10-match ban for racist behaviour towards Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara is 'pitiful' and backs the taking of the knee

"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."

Arsenal went on to make a fast start to the game as they shocked the hosts with a fine first-half display, hitting three goals in six minutes en route to a 4-0 win on the night to reach the Europa League semi-finals for the third time in four years.

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Kevin Campbell believes the image of Alexandre Lacazette taking a knee against Slavia Prague will be ‘iconic for years to come’, while Mikael Silvestre has criticised the length of Ondrej Kudela's ban for racially abusing Rangers' Glen Kamara

Academy graduates Emile Smith Rowe and Saka both starred for the Gunners, who Arteta said are a "joy to watch". Smith Rowe had a goal ruled out by VAR for offside before Nicolas Pepe opened the scoring, Lacazette then converting a penalty after Saka was fouled before the England international added the third himself.

Lacazette struck again in a more timid second half to see Arsenal through 5-1 on aggregate and into a last-four clash with former head coach Unai Emery and his Villarreal side.

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