Of course Arsenal wanted to be in the draw for the Champions League this season, even if it was the draw for the final qualifying stage that happened yesterday, with Liverpool who beat us to fourth place in the league by just one point pulling the German side Hoffenheim out of the hat.
The Gunners have always got through those play-off games even though it was sometimes a close call, but for the first time in two decades the Gunners will not be involved with the elite of Europe and Arsene Wenger has admitted that this is not good, in a report by The Mirror, but he also played it down a little bit by claiming that the English Premier League and the title race is now more important and more of interest to fans than the UCL and maybe the fact that Arsenal have not looked remotely like winning it since we lost to Barcelona in the final makes that true.
The other big point the boss made, however, could be good news for Arsenal fans, because the Frenchman suggested that being in the Europa League this season could actually boost our own EPL trophy chances. He did not exactly state that Arsenal teams for those Thursday night games will be full of kids and fringe players but that was the clear inference.
Wenger said, “Well for us it is a good opportunity to focus completely on the Premier League.
“But anyway, I would say that the Premier League has, in my opinion, taken over from the Champions League, interest-wise.
“It has happened in the group stage sometimes that we have rested players to prepare for the next Premier League game. Every Premier League game is so difficult.
“I would have loved to play in [the Champions League]. but we have to deal with the reality that we are not in it.”
It is certainly true that the last two Premier League champions did so without Champions League football to worry about, but neither Chelsea nor Leicester had Europa League games either, so is Wenger right to say that being in the lesser European competition will help Arsenal in the Premier League?