By Rob Kelly

Mikel Arteta says the entire first-team squad is delighted that it can help make a difference to the lives of young people.

Saturday’s Premier League match against West Brom has been dedicated to The Arsenal Foundation, the Club’s charitable arm. Money raised on the day will go towards supporting education and sport projects in the UK and overseas.

Arteta is only too happy to help, and says it is important for players everywhere to play their part in helping the community.

“It’s a great day - the effort that everyone at the Club has made to support the charity is unbelievable,” the Spaniard said.

“The players are aware of that and pleased that we can contribute somehow. For us it’s a great opportunity to do it. There are a lot of families and kids getting benefits, so it’s a tremendous day.

“We know how influential we can be to some of the kids who are in really bad conditions or a family that hasn’t got the power to create a good environment around kids. It’s really tough so it’s great we are able to do something about it.”

Arteta is expecting a major battle on the pitch against a West Brom side who have been reinvigorated under new manager Steve Clarke.

“They’ve been superb,” he said. “They lost the last two but they’ve had a great start and they’ve got a really good manager.

“They’ve got some really good players as well. But we’re playing at home and we have to be really strong if we want to achieve something this year at the Emirates.

“People have to be afraid to come here, as they were last year. If that’s not happening, it means we’re doing something wrong.

“We want the fans to stay behind us. They need us to be on top form to get that excitement that they come to the games to watch us play. We are the ones that have to give them something now.

“They love Arsenal as much as we do and they go to the ground to support us. They’re not coming to criticise or because they want something bad for us. It’s the opposite.

“They get upset because they’re not watching what they want to watch and we have to respect that. We’re angry with ourselves and hopefully we can show that on Saturday.”

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8 Dec 2012