Source: Goal_ID via Twitter
Arsenal have made a strong start to their Europa League campaign, despite fielding an inexperienced outfit in their four matches in Group H. The Gunners’ progress in the competition could be vital for their hopes of returning to the Champions League next season, following in the footsteps of Manchester United last term.
Arsene Wenger’s men are slightly off the pace in the battle for the top four. However, they’ve worryingly lost four matches already this season, including their 3-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester City. Lessons from the recent years of the Frenchman’s tenure have not been learned, with losses to the clubs in and around them in the table once again holding the club back.
Due to their series of strong performances in the early stages of the Europa League, Arsenal are considered the leading contender to win the competition in the latest football tips at 6/1. There’s no side currently in the tournament that will send a chill down the spine of the Gunners, although that could change when the teams dropping down from the Champions League enter the fray.
Wenger’s side have made a stuttering start to the Premier League campaign. At times, the Gunners look extremely dangerous at full flow but their old tendencies have been exposed in defeats at Liverpool and Manchester City. In those matches, they were outclassed by their opponents, while in their other two losses of the season at Stoke and Watford, they were bullied by two inferior teams, especially in a meek effort at Vicarage Road.
Looking at the club and their players this season, Arsenal do not appear to have the depth of quality and the mental capacity to break back into the top four this season. Manchester City, Tottenham, Manchester United, and Chelsea are all stronger outfits. Liverpool are in a similar position to the Gunners due to their defensive issues and could be on the outside looking in.
Source: Frandimore via Twitter
An honest appraisal of the situation is that Wenger’s men will miss out, which should force the Frenchman’s hand in future for his side’s Europa League matches. AC Milan, Lazio, and Lyon could threaten them out of sides that are currently in the competition but, with the talent of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, and Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal have an attack that could blow those sides away.
The problems will come when teams drop out of the Champions League. Napoli, Borussia Dortmund, and Atletico Madrid will pose a lot of problems to the Gunners. They boast quality similar to that of the elite of the Premier League, especially in the final third.
Wenger has rested his star men for the Europa League thus far, but if he is caught in two minds towards the end of the season chasing the top four and success on the continent, his priorities should be shifted in favour of the Europa League crown. Over two legs and even a final, Wenger should fancy his chances against those elite sides due to his side’s success in the FA Cup over the last few years.
However, they have problems sustaining quality over a period of time. Wenger cannot be arrogant in believing his side can cope on the domestic and European front. He has to focus on one and would be a fool to prioritise the Premier League in favour of glory in the Europa League.
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