Should Arsenal give up on the Champions League for the League?? by JH
Those of you that are aware of my articles will know that I enjoy the odd controversial one. I believe many will not accept my view on this one right away, but if you think about it, you will see I have a point.
Last night, Jamie Carragher came up with a theory of how Arsenal could win the league. It is a theory that at first would leave Arsenal fans furious, screaming ‘Wenger Out’ over and over, but would lead to many of them being ecstatic, declaring their allegiance to AW (maybe not the second part!).
With 2 losses in our 2 CL games, we of course sit bottom of this group, 3 points behind Olympiakos and Zagreb, 6 behind Bayern, who we now face twice, in losing both games to Bayern we could find ourselves 12 behind Bayern and if Olympiakos and Zagreb share victories, we would be 6 behind each of them.
Now for the theory, during the analysis of our decimation of Man Utd, Jamie Carragher turned attentions over to our abysmal form in the UCL. He went on to speculate that perhaps Arsenal going out of the CL would not be so bad. Henry made clear that he agreed, as long as we finished 4th, not 3rd. This is something I have thought since the Olympiakos game, but thought it best to keep it to myself for a short while.
The theory being that every year Arsenal finish strong, this strong finish just so happens to coincide with our exit from CL football. As JC said, Arsenal are not going to win the CL this year, even the most biased or optimistic fans would admit that is beyond this squad right now.
So lets say we lose both games vs Bayern, lets say in fact, we rest the likes of Ozil, Sanchez Walcott, Coquelin in the CL, keeping them fresh for the League. Would Arsenal fans like it? No, would we accept it? Not at first. But our final group game would be against Olympiakos on the 9th of December, so lets say that is our final CL game, we finish bottom. We are out of Europe. Just in time for the winter rush here in England, the part of the season where everyone drops points.
The big teams will be tired from European football, but Arsenal have been playing a weakened side in the UCL. Arsenal have their best players fit and firing. We can come through the Christmas period unscathed, which then brings me to the run in. Chelsea, Man United and Man city will all inevitably have Champions League football to contend with, as well as an ever challenging premier league. playing midweek and weekends, getting tired through over playing and travel. Arsenal, with the First XI playing only at the weekend, would have a full weeks rest and prep for every Premier league game.
Now let us not forget, every single year Arsenal exit the CL, we see a response, and this often tends to be a 15-18 game response. And we begin our ascent up the table. Well, what if our ascent started earlier than usual? We are still very much in touch with the top right now, what happens when we have those extra 3 days rest and preparation compared to City?
Arsenal fans would not accept failure in the CL right away, but hypothetically, if in the middle of March we find ourselves 5 clear at the top, with City still in Europe, would we accept it then? Probably? What about if this all actually works out and we lift the Premier league title in May? I think we would more than forgive our European strategy.
Now many will say it is a lack of ambition, whereas I see it as simply prioritising. We are not going to win the CL, we have neither the quality nor the luck required to win it. If you look at our squad to the likes of Bayern, Real, Barca, we are simply not on their level… yet.
I believe Arsenal can be forgiven for this year forgetting CL football, if it brings home that elusive Premier League Title.
Now I of course know this is a huge risk, just because we are out of the CL will not mean we automatically win the league. We are not in an easy league, We face Man City, one of the best and most expensive squads on the planet, and the so called smaller teams such as Crystal Palace or West Ham often get the better of their more talented and more costly opposition.
To win the league we must fight, we must show the desire we showed against United all season, no matter the opposition.
If Arsenal Football club were actually to do as I am speculating we could, it would probably be the biggest gamble of Arsene Wengers career. I would go as far as to say if he was to do this, and it didn’t work, it would be his final gamble. But as of right now, I see it as a gamble worth taking, just look at what Liverpool did without European football, they nearly won the league, now granted Luis Suarez was mainly to thank for this, but would he have finished the season as he started it if he was playing every Tuesday or Wednesday too?? I doubt it.
The fact is this extra rest could be all we need to separate us from City, and next season we can focus on trying to push for a CL challenge.
But right now, I feel this could be a great advantage towards our goal of once again being called Champions.
What do you guys think? I know it’s pretty out there but I think it could actually work, Do you guys think it’s worth the gamble? Or should we stick with the CL and risk playing in the Europa League??