Something happened at Arsenal last season that had not happened for over 20 years: Arsene Wenger’s men failed to finish in the top four of the Premier League and therefore missed out on qualification for the 2017-18 Champions League. It was a huge disappointment for the fans, who are used to seeing the Gunners competition in the group stage of Europe’s premier club competition. Not only did Arsene Wenger’s side fail to book a place in the Champions League, but the Gunners also finished below their bitter North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who ended up as high second after finishing third in the league during the 2015-16 campaign.
This is why Arsenal need to take the Europa League seriously. The Europa League is not a competition that big clubs, including those in England, do not have a great view of. After all, there is not enough prize money, and there is not much prestige, either. The Champions League is the competition that all major teams want to be part of, but for them to do that, the Gunners will have to take the Europa League seriously. Wenger’s side successfully negotiated the group stage and won their group to book a place in the round of 32 of the Europa League. They have been paired with modest Swedish side FK Ostersunds, and if you bet on sports using BTC, then this is a banker for a win for the Gunners.
Arsenal have done well in domestic cup competitions in recent years. The North London club have won the FA Cup thrice since 2014 and have become something of a cup specialist. The Gunners need the same attitude and spirit in the Europa League, and the big players need to step up their game. Arsenal do have some wonderful players, such as Olivier Giroud, Jack Wilshere and Alexandre Lacazette, who need to step up their game and show their true quality.
Of course, as the season progresses, Arsenal could find themselves in a very good position to finish in the top four of the Premier League and qualify for the Champions League that way. However, the Gunners do have the depth of squad to compete in the Europa League, and manager Wenger should field his best available players in the competition. Moreover, for an Arsenal team who have never been able to make an impact in the Champions League – except that one time when they reached the final – and fans would love if they win the Europa League. Look at what Manchester United did last season. Jose Mourinho’s side did not finish in the top six of the Premier League, but the Red Devils qualified for the Champions League by winning the Europa League. Arsenal should take inspiration from United and give the Europa League a real go this season.