Arsene Wenger has insisted that he is not ready to prioritise the European competition over the Premier League, but should he reconsider?
Our side was disappointing in their loss to Tottenham this afternoon, and what makes it worse, is that we now trail Tottenham by seven points in the league table, with Chelsea and Liverpool five and six points ahead having played a game less. Their are very few Arsenal fans likely to bet on the Gunners to catch Spurs even if they were given free money from a Unibet bonuskod to play with. It would just be a waste!
So we now look dangerously likely to fail in our bid to return to the Champions League via our league finishing position, but may have a backdoor entry should we go onto win the Europa League competition, but that is far from a certainty at this early stage of the competition.
Wenger is refusing to give up on that place in the top four despite our uphill task, but admits today’s result was not one we could afford.
“It’s a game we couldn’t afford to lose, of course, and that makes it much more difficult now,” Wenger said. “But we have to fight as long as we have a mathematical chance. There was more at stake than just the derby, I said that before the game, that’s why it’s so disappointing to lose the game the way we lost it.
“It’s too early [to talk about the Europa League]. Football is not about switching off for three games and switching one for one game. Man United decided that once they were in the semi-final, and we are far from a semi-final. I think we have to fight to have the chance to come back. Overall for me it’s a very disappointing result, because the priority has to be to be in the Champions League through the Premier League. I’m not a great fan of the Europa League being a qualifier, I think it’s not right. But if it’s an opportunity we have to try and take it as well. But the priority is still to be in the Premier League.”
Can we still reach the top four? Do we need to concentrate on the EL instead of our league position?