The case for the Europa League

If we are watching football on Thursdays, we might as well make the most of it

The case for the Europa League

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With Europa League football looking like a strong possibility for next year, I’m quite sure that most Arsenal fans will be groaning at the thought, seeing it as an unwanted distraction and drain on our league form, one that must be exited at the earliest opportunity through the fielding of a second-string team as with the League Cup. Yes, it is a lot of matches and travel and we will be stuck with a Thursday-Sunday schedule all season and yes, the evidence does seem clear that it does have a negative impact on league form. But if it does happen we must see it as an opportunity to be taken rather than a burden.

A successful Europa League campaign would be an immensely beneficial experience, giving our players a chance to develop their abilities at continental level against opposition who are not of the same quality as that found in the Champions League. We would get the ability to develop our understanding of the more sophisticated tactics required in European football and this would help us immensely upon a return to the Champions League.

Furthermore, for a club that (apparently) aspires to be a member of the elite, two European trophies in our entire history is not enough. Examine the records and we are joint seventh with Leeds and West Ham and behind Spurs and Chelsea. Moreover, no one can deny that two semi-final appearances and one final is a poor return on nearly twenty years in the Champions League. So, a Europa League victory would give us a chance to build up the club’s European history and heritage.

And then are more pragmatic concerns. If next year we are out of the Champions League, then winning the Europa League will be our best chance of getting back into the elite competition in 2018/2019. If we fail to make the top four this year, then would you really expect a side shorn of Sanchez and perhaps Ozil to do better next year? When, let us not forget, we will face a top five who will have strengthened and improved further. So, as Manchester United are finding this year, the Champions League place on offer to the Europa League winners is a very handy back door route to the top table, and a get out of jail free card for a poor league campaign, one that could prevent a longer period of malaise and decline at the club.

Fundamentally however my key point is this: whatever our chances of winning the Europa League may be, they are currently infinitely better than our chances of getting past the last 16 of the Champions League. Arsenal have never been so far from reaching the Holy Grail of the European Cup, as shown by our failure to win a knockout tie in that competition for seven years. So why not actually go for something that we may have a chance to win? Football is at the end of the day about winning trophies, and this is all anyone remembers when the history books are written. I for one would far rather celebrate a victory in Lyon in May 2018 than go through the humiliation of a 10-2 thrashing again and I can’t think of anything else that would give the whole club a bigger lift.

So, we can give ourselves some experience of being successful in Europe, add another chapter to our European history, get back into the Champions League by the back door and give ourselves some great nights to remember. What’s not to like?

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  1. Hi Berry

    May 01, 2017, 10:03 #101010

    Tremendous report by Barney Ronay in the Guardian.

  2. MAF

    May 01, 2017, 9:40 #101008

    do you actually think Arsenal could Play 3 times/week for 6 months ?? with the amount of pussy injuries we get, absolutely no way. EL is about Attrition and use of squad. perefect for a new Manager to cut his teeth on but will be a catastrophe under the old selfish fraud. Alwayz-ill will Play abt 3 games, ramshackle 2, wallflower 1. beam me up scotty, the Club remains in the dark Ages thanks to blind faith for way too Long in the French monarch

  3. Petergooner

    May 01, 2017, 9:03 #101007

    CT, Rippy and everyone else. It does not matter if we win the Cup or not, Wenger will stay because, if we win the cup then he will say he has started to turn things around. If we do not win the cup then he will say he is the only one who can turn our form around. Wenger has signed for two more years we all know this. The only thing we as true fans can do is not go to the games but as I have said before there are so many non fans who would pay for a season ticket just to say they have gone to a football game. There is no way out of this as I am concerned except get rid of Wenger and Stan Kranke. Get David Dean, Osmanov and the Nigerian in for a complete new club. WE ALL WANT OUR CLUB BACK.

  4. Rippy

    May 01, 2017, 1:22 #101003

    CT I hear what your saying. And that scares me to death. If he stays I just can't see nothing more but the same or worse! Fingers crossed ....

  5. CT Gooner

    May 01, 2017, 0:45 #101002

    Rippy, we win the FACup and there will be no goodbye. That will be enough for the powers that be to announce a new deal. God that would be such a step backward....

  6. Rippy

    May 01, 2017, 0:12 #101001

    Wenger has bought so many average players we actually look like a mid table side. The truth is there does look to be a power shift with spurs. Yes one season doesn't make much difference. Yet a shift as to start some where. We are lucky to be 6th let's be honest. Ozil needs to be sold his too lightweight and lazy . Sanchez will go on to better things and kroenke will sanction the sell. I don't understand why Wenger stays to take all the crap. Surely his rich enough already. He looks delusional and has nothing but excuses now. It's sad to see and like a maimed animal he needs to be put out of his misery. We are pathetic away from home. We look disorganised weak lightweight and disjointed. If arsene gets another contract and a bunch of money to spend then it's truely undeserved and ridiculous. I would love to see him lift the fa cup then say goodbye. Except we need a minor miracle for that too happen

  7. mbg

    Apr 30, 2017, 22:26 #101000

    Hi Berry, no need to apologise it's just another excuse from the old past it fraud anyway, that's all we'll hear from the old weasel and his wengerite apologists now, the first time in so many seasons blah blah, blah, (was is/there a trophy for all that ?) what did it do for us ?and what did we gain or gained from it ? we're regressed, and it'll be the same from TOF and his apologists and excuse makers when they finish above us in the prem blah blah, again, what good did it do or has it all done. ? wenger out now.

  8. Hi Berry

    Apr 30, 2017, 21:36 #100999

    Ooops! Just saw the interview and the once in twenty years comment referenced Tottenham finishing above us - which was a little different from the way it was reported in the article I read. Apologies.

  9. Hi Berry

    Apr 30, 2017, 21:23 #100998

    So, according to our esteemed leader this is the first time in twenty years we have not been in the fight for the championship at this time of the season. Is that the sound of history being re-written that I hear?

  10. mbg

    Apr 30, 2017, 20:25 #100997

    So much for all the Euphoria after the semi final (in which we won fookall)the whooping, the ejaculating, the down to earth with a sore arse wasn't long coming, (it always does)much sooner than a lot of us thought (not all of us though) not much whooping and getting moist tonight. Go now wenger you Embarrassment.

  11. CT Gooner

    Apr 30, 2017, 19:16 #100996

    It's looking like a 4 horse race for the last two CL spots, neck and neck really. My point, as crap as we have been, a few wins in a row and he can be hailed the messiah again. While I think the chances are low, it is a real possibility, and we know Stan is just waiting to stick the knife into the majority of the fan base. We were so good today, Cech had to be our MoM, at least 9 saves in the second half!! What is Graham Perry seeing through his rose coloured glasses tonight??

  12. Old Man

    Apr 30, 2017, 19:10 #100995

    For God's sake go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. KC38

    Apr 30, 2017, 19:06 #100994

    What a disgrace. Xhaka Gabriel absolutely pathetic. How can this manager justify staying. How?

  14. Arseneknewbest

    Apr 30, 2017, 19:02 #100993

    Good. That needed to happen. At least Chelsea won. I spent the afternoon whittling a stake to drive into count wengula's atrophied heart. What a cnut...

  15. Aylesbury Gooner

    Apr 30, 2017, 18:53 #100991

    What a total shambles,truly pathetic wenger out,out,out

  16. mbg

    Apr 30, 2017, 18:29 #100989

    So no St Totteringhams day then, (another record for TOF)still as respected from the fence sitters arse lickers ? Go now you past it old piss artist your an embarrassment. #no new contract, We want wenger out we want wenger out

  17. Alsace

    Apr 30, 2017, 18:23 #100987

    As I write this, Totteringham Hotspurs, who are in with a serious chance of the title as at end April 2017, are winning at WHL. Even the pathetic performance of the Manchester clubs and the general weakness of the league, which has shielded OGL from scrutiny for so long will no longer serve as a fig leaf for this pathetic fool of an excuse for a manager. Spurs, a team without a sixty thousand capacity stadium for ten years, are in better Nick than we are. 21 years. He was given the best team in London. He has made it the third best team. Time for the loser to get lost.

  18. Bob Bayliss

    Apr 30, 2017, 14:08 #100985

    You only have to look at United this season to grasp why Europa League is to be avoided: the only time they have looked impressive was early season (before it kicked in) and during the winter break (when there were no matches). With a deeper squad than ours they have struggled to combine a top four challenge with an attempt at the Europa League. Best to be out of it altogether, as Chelsea have found this year and Leicester did last season.

  19. mbg

    Apr 30, 2017, 13:42 #100984

    Just like the FA Cup that him and then of course his AKB wengerites treated with distain, (until it saved his and their messiah's arse, just like it's doing again) the Europa would probably end up saving his skinny arse too and become the bee's knees cup again. Any resignation yet ?

  20. equalizer

    Apr 30, 2017, 10:28 #100983

    Haha. He couldn't manage arguably the best Arsenal side he had to win this cup in 2000 and apart from his bank balance he's regressed I every possible way since. What makes you think he could be successful now? I do think it's the ideal situation for the new manager to blood his ideas though

  21. RobG

    Apr 29, 2017, 20:59 #100981

    Actually, I rather agree with this ; particularly the last bit.

  22. Kvltman

    Apr 29, 2017, 19:31 #100980

    I would bloody love to win the Europa League. However I think, much like it has increased in importance to Mourinho since it became clear they had a good shot at winning it, Wenger wouldn't treat it seriously to begin with. Next season 'The Holy Grail' will be the top four trophy again.

  23. mbg

    Apr 29, 2017, 18:58 #100979

    Bob Bayliss, just like we are now, and have been for the last ten years. wenger out.

  24. mbg

    Apr 29, 2017, 17:18 #100977

    Groaning at the thought ? why ? It's exactly our level we might even have a chance of winning it providing TOF has pissed off, we're definitely not going to win the prem with him, as for the CL don't even go there, like I said the Europa is exactly our level and it's exactly what we deserve and exactly what this old fraud of a manager and his second rate nice boys deserve if he's still here, oh what a come down it would/will be what a blow for his overinflated ego, after all the spin, bumming and blowing from him and his AKB wengerites about this so called record which has done us no fooking good whatsoever (we've actually regressed)TOF leaves having taken us out of it, it would be nearly worth while seeing the past it old has been stay to see him rocking back and forward in the dugout freezing his balls off also getting stuffed at god forsaken grounds playing in front of a couple of thousand fans in the middle of blizzards against teams he or we've never heard off, in country's he's also never heard off, exactly his level.

  25. Gaz

    Apr 29, 2017, 15:28 #100976

    So after 30 years of competing for a European trophy with Arsenal and Monaco we're expecting Wenger to spend a season in the Europa league trying to find out exactly what it is that's made him a crap manager in Europe for all those years? Hmm, not sure this has been thought through fella. Let's be blunt, Wenger will never succeed in Europe and if think the sense of apathy surrounding the club right now is a problem just wait until we're playing a side nobody's heard of on a Thursday night. Oh and for anyone thinking this will give us some sort of advantage in the PL just wait until we lose our first PL game after playing on Thursday and Wenger starts using it as an excuse.

  26. Bob Bayliss

    Apr 29, 2017, 14:41 #100975

    Unless you actually win it (a trophy and a Champions' League reward) there is no upside to being in the Europa League: an early start to the season; Thursday football meaning less recovery time at the weekend; dross matches for most of the competition; players you want to sign won't be interested.

  27. David1

    Apr 29, 2017, 12:43 #100972

    If Zippy is still in charge, then the Europa League is a realistic ambition.

  28. jjetplane

    Apr 29, 2017, 12:17 #100970

    Do not think this club is good enough for any 'continental' football under Wengo. Ludograts and the like will be waiting for revenge but it would be fun to see Ozil with his thumb St Elsewhere while earning his understandable 300t a week on a wet Thursday night with a travelling support of zilch.

  29. Exeter Gunner

    Apr 29, 2017, 11:03 #100969

    "We would get the ability to develop our understanding of the more sophisticated tactics required in European football" Presumably you don't think Wenger will be manager next season? He wouldn't stand for any of that.