It seems as though the Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger just cannot catch a break at the moment. As if the challenge to get back into the top-four places or even win the title was not already daunting enough, the Premier League fixtures, which were revealed on Wednesday, has only added to the Frenchman’s woes with five of their six matches directly after Europa League group stage fixtures away from home.
What this means is that after travelling the far corners of Europe during mid-week, Arsene Wenger’s men will be on the road again in the Premier League during the weekend, with Arsenal facing away trips to Manchester City, Chelsea, Everton, Southampton and Burnley directly after European excursions. This scenario will recur as many as five times, which is long enough to derail a campaign.
So with that being the case, I believe Arsenal must prioritize competitions. Obviously, the Premier League is the most important and I think Wenger should approach the Europa League like he approaches the FA Cup: play some youngsters and squad players during the early stages of the competition and should the team reach the quarter-finals, start taking the competition more seriously.
Should Wenger choose the same approach as the Champions League, the sheer fatigue of travelling and playing three games a week will have its toll on the squad and will have a negative impact on the players, both physically and mentally. If Le Prof is serious about winning the title next season, then the Europa League must play second-fiddle to the Gunners’ Premier League ambitions.