Tonight’s game against BATE is probably the most important game this season for the Gunners, as a draw or a defeat will destroy our very last chance of a possible trophy this season. It may be the poor man’s version of the Champions League, but we have never won it before and it is becoming tougher to win every year.
As Laurent Koscielny said yesterday: “No, no, the Europa League is still a big competition, it is still a European cup, but of course when you are in the Champions League you want to be in there every year and next season we want to be in the Champions League. But the Europa League this season still has a lot of big teams, it is a top-level tournament, there is Chelsea, Napoli, Valencia so I think it is a big competition, more than last year, and every year it is more intense. Last year Atletico Madrid won the cup, so for us it is big opportunity to go in the Champions League. Now we have a game in front of us like tomorrow to get to the next rounds and try to get to the final and be in the Champions League next season.”
That of course is our ultimate aim; To return to the elite competition, and if we have to win the Europa League to get there then so be it. We just need to regain the fighting spirit from the earlier games in the season, and hopefully we can overcome the mighty minnows from Belarus!