After losing the North London derby this weekend, Arsenal are very unlikely to finish the season in the Champions League places so it looks like the Gunners only hope of qualifying for the elite competition will be from winning the Europa League, which recommences this coming Thursday with Arsenal playing against the Swedish minnows Ostersund.
By virtue of losing to Nottingham Forest in the Third Round of the FA Cup, Arsenal will not be playing next weekend so we can simply concentrate on the Europa League without worrying about the need to rest any of our stars. Wenger has already confirmed that he will be playing a full strength side. “I would have anyway gone for it, especially as we have no game between the two matches,” Wenger said.
“I will play the normal team because it is one of the opportunities we have especially because we don’t play in the FA Cup. There is no reason why I should rest players.”
It is very important that the Gunners get a good lead to take back to the Emirates, as the second leg is just three days before the League Cup Final, and Wenger will definitely want to rotate for that one with the chance of a first-ever League Cup trophy for Arsenal. Although Le Prof will be playing his first team this week, it doesn’t mean he will continue to do so in the later rounds, as he said he would not be prioritising the Europa League after our defeat to Spurs: “Football is not about switching off for three games and then switching it on for one game. Manchester United decided that once they were in the semi-final.
“We are far from the semi-final and we have to fight to have a chance to come back. For me, it’s a very disappointing result because the priority has to be to get into the Champions League from the Premier League [top-four finish]. I’m not a great fan of qualifying through the Europa League because I don’t think it’s right. If it’s an opportunity, we’ll have to try to take it as well. The priority is still to be in the Premier League.”
Does anyone still think we can still make the Top Four? Or should we be making the Europa League our priority and playing our very best side in every round?