With Liverpool thrashing West Ham and City having beat West Brom, Arsenal’s hopes of a top four spot look slimmer by the day. However despite our slim chances the club isn’t giving up on Top Four just yet and goalkeeper Petr Cech wants Arsenal to face the fact that the Europa League isn’t quite as bad as it’s made out to be!
In order to secure a Top Three spot, the Gunners would need to win against Everton as well as seeing a heavy defeat for Manchester City and/or defeat Liverpool this weekend. The final premier league fixture list for this season sees Liverpool play relegated Middlesborough and City play Watford. Both the favourites are likely to walk away with all three points leaving Arsenal in the dark for a fifth placed finish. The Gunners can afford for just one of the two other sides to lose, but even so, fourth place does not guarantee getting to the champions league next season, with Manchester United favourites to win this seasons Europa League.
In a Sky Sports report, a Europa League winner with Chelsea, Petr Cech is quoted saying: “I have to say you want to have the Champions League one rather than the Europa League one but you can see more and more, big teams are treating the Europa League with respect because it is a European trophy.”
“Now you can qualify for the Champions League too. I have to say it is a fantastic memory for myself to look at the medal. I only played in it once and was fortunate in one go to have won it. But obviously I would rather be in the Champions League, that’s for sure. Let’s see what will happen.”
Cech is very much correct in his opinion when he states that the Europa league has become much more attractive to clubs across Europe. This is especially so with many top European sides scuppering under the increased pressure of rising clubs pushing the well known top sides out of certain contention. A clear example of this is the Champions League places given to Spurs and Leicester last season. As previously mentioned the likes of Chelsea have missed out on qualification for this past season and it’s worked wonders. Meanwhile, United and Liverpool’s withdrawal from the Champions League for a ‘single season’ as it was suggested, has now turned into more of a regularity for the two English ‘Giants’.
Arsenal have a real concern on their hands if the Gunners can only achieve Europa League football next season. Especially so with the dire transfers rumours that the club is currently speculating. The Gunners may have to face the reality that Alexis, Ozil and a number of other players may seek an exit if they cannot play in Europe’s most prestigious cup next season. I think Alexis is the most likely to leave for sure if that’s the case, but I’m sure he wouldn’t be the only one to go out the exit door!
My biggest issue with the Europa league is that it is sure to have an adverse affect on our domestic league campaign. United have struggled with playing fixtures on the Thursday across Europe, to then face a Premier League side two or three days later. It has meant that United’s domestic form has decreased to the point they are no longer the strong force to worry about.
Chelsea on the other hand are an example of how not being in Europe’s biggest competition also has its benefits. Although the Blues didn’t partake in a single European fixture this season, it has paid off massively considering they are close to doing the FA Cup, with the Premier League already in the bag. I just think that although it would give the Gunners something to cheer about and a new competition to experience, the mid week Thursday fixtures may become quite challenging for the club, especially during the busier schedules that Premier League football experiences. I think if the Europa League offers more damage than promotion to Arsenal, then I would hope Arsenal give the competition a go, but ultimately don’t focus too much on winning a competition that the fans aren’t too interested in!