Are Arsenal right to prioritise Europa League over Chelsea encounter?

Hector Bellerin has insisted that Arsenal’s Thursday night Europa League match with Cologne is taking priority over the weekend’s crunch tie with Chelsea.

The Gunners host FC Koln in the opening group match of the EL this week, and are claimed to be taking the fixture seriously as they look to win the competition. They have a tough away trip to Chelsea on Sunday, but claim that Thursday has to be the priority.

“Our focus is on Thursday’s game,” the Spaniard said.

“It is a very important match to start the Europa League on the right foot.

“We have to give our best and only after that will we start to think about Chelsea [Sunday 1.30pm].

“The Europa League is a very important competition for us.

“We know that if we have the possibility of winning it, we will return to the Champions League next year, which is one of our targets.

“It’s a competition that we know we can win and we’re going to fight as much as in the other competitions to do it.

“Whoever plays, we are going to give our best.”

Bellerin claimed that we are taking it seriously, but then adds ‘whoever plays’, which tells me he thinks players are going to be rotated into the side, which tells another story somewhat.

Chelsea will no doubt pose the bigger test, especially having to travel to them, but both are huge games at a pivotal point in our season, and a win on Thursday could give us a needed boost before going to Stamford Bridge.

Do we have to take every match as seriously as each other, or should others take priority at this point in the campaign? Should we have one eye on the trip to Chelsea?

Pat J

Tags Arsenal Bellerin Chelsea Cologne Koln


  1. Mudassir says:

    All I care is just for us to keep winning.
    whether Uefa of latin cup.

  2. Arsenal_Girl says:

    Yes. Once again Wenger and Kroenke did not strengthen our squad enough to even compete for Top 4. I hope to God that I’m wrong. I will be delighted to be wrong. But it’s possible United, Liverpool, Chelsea, City and Spurs could finish above us. Again, I hope I’m wrong

    By ranking (which doesn’t mean a whole lot) we are the Top team. So to me that means we have at least a decent chance to win the tournament. If we do we get a trophy (that we have not won yet) and a ticket to Champions League, regardless of what happens in PL. Just like United last season. They finished 5th but won Europa and they are in CL.

    So yes. Let’s put out a team good enough to WIN.

    And I agree with 1st comment. Let’s keep on winning as much as possible

    1. gmv8 says:

      I’m more worried about the end of next season, with the zero effort made this year to counteract the departures. I still don’t see how the Spuds, with their 900m debt, spent more than us. Maybe April next year is when Usmanov will look to strike again.

  3. classyGunner says:

    What did you expect? Hector will come out and say “no, Europa is not important. We are not taking it seriously”?
    Even if he knows none of the first 11 will play, he will still say “the right thing”

  4. Frank says:

    Let’s be honest. Arsenal are not strong enough to compete for the Premier League. Wenger will be going hard for the UEFA Cup and defending the FA Cup. It will be a success if we manage to win these two trophies. We all want to win the Premier League and Champions League but it’s time to be realistic.

    1. Ted Samson says:

      Pessimistic u mean. The squad we have is better than some title winning squads. The only area we lack quality is in midfield (it’s a problem we can deal with internally). I hope kolasinac, lacazette, Alexis, koscielny, Mertsacker can magically rub off some winning mentality on d rest of d squad.
      The best we can do as fans is to support d team and make sure last season’s Wengerout banners and unnecessary boos don’t happen.
      Let the emirates have a positive atmosphere all season.

      1. Frank says:

        We finished fifth, 18 points behind Chelsea. It looks as though we have two new quality players but that isn’t enough to turn this team around.
        Arsenal will not win the Premier League while Kroenke is the owner. It is that simple.

        1. Ted Samson says:

          We beat Chelsea convincingly, Manchester city and Manchester united (under mourinho) last season. We are not faraway in terms of quality. The problem we have is poor player mentality (wish can be resolved internally hopefully). Kolasinac playing alongside Sanchez and lacazette might fuel the teams desire to work harder on d pitch.
          As much as I hate that we didn’t buy a midfielder, we can’t underestimate the quality and hunger Kolasinac and lacazette add to this team.
          Ignore the media, they hate Wenger and Arsenal.

          1. gmv8 says:

            We cannot compete with Kroenke in charge, why won’t people understand? It is fairly obvious we need a strong defensive midfielder and a leader at the back, to replace the BFG – look at the difference it makes to have leadership on the field, and you don’t need to have 30 years in management and be on 10 million a year, to realise that, the only reason, unless Wenger is clinically insane, is that he’s been restricted financially, no money anyone?

  5. Yossarian says:

    Translated, that means: “We don’t expect to beat Chelsea, and would be lucky to scrape top-four this season, so we’ll try to win the Europa league to get back into the ECL”

    Given our great FA Cup record it might seem like a good gamble, but Arsenal’s relatively poor European record means that it might be one that back-fires. I guess only time will tell.

  6. the barrel says:

    Ted Samson hit the nail on the head. The problem with Arsenal is mentality, not quality. Check the bench for Chelsea and compare it with Arsenal bench, which one is better? Fans blame Kronke, but why? Is Kronke going to tell Ozil to run like a professional footballer? Ozil runs like a sick, and Arsenal lose the game then everyone blames Kronke and Wenger. Let Ozil, Ramsey, Giroud, Xhaka, and Debuchy not be included in tomorrow’s game, whoever is selected will play better. The only blame I put on Wenger is selection. Even if Ozil and Ramsey does not play good for 5 games, he will always be in the starting 11. But when Walcott plays only one bad game, he will be on the bench for the whole season. REALLY THIS IS NOT FAIR.

  7. the barrel says:

    The good squad to play tomorrow:
    Bellerin Holding Koscielny Kolasinic
    Elneny Wilshere
    Walcott Wellbeck/Nelson/Iwobi Sanchez

    This team is better than the team with Ozil, Ramsey, Xhaka, and Giroud

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