EPL: Missing footballer Emiliano Sala remembered in pre-game tributes

Emiliano Sala's absence was noted in Arsenal's matchday programme for the Welsh club's first fixture since the aircraft carrying the striker disappeared last week.

Arsenal hosted the Bluebirds in London on Wednesday (NZ time), honouring the missing Sala with a daffodil flower by his name on the matchday programme.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery and captain Laurent Koscielny paid tribute to Sala and pilot David Ibbotson in the programme, adding that the pair will be in the thoughts of everyone involved in the evening's proceedings.

Koscielny compared the atmosphere and tension under the circumstances to matches he played for France during and after the Paris terror attacks in 2015.

Sala's name was included in the match day programme.
Sala's name was included in the match day programme. Photo credit: Getty

"There are things far more important than football and you don't know what tomorrow will bring," he said. "I am very happy that the searches are now continuing."

Daffodil flower pin badges were also distributed to soccer media attending the game.

Eight days have passed since the Piper PA-46 Malibu carrying the Argentinian striker and pilot Ibbotson disappeared over the English Channel, two days after his transfer to Cardiff from Nantes.

The official search was called off on Friday, but fundraisers have paid for a private exploration.

Cardiff boss Neil Warnock has admitted he had questioned his own future in the wake of the tragedy, which he described as "by far the most difficult week" of his 40-year career in football management.             

PA