Arsenal needs to win their Europa League group to avoid the big guns.
The Europa League is a much-derided competition and rightfully so. The prize money is poor in comparison to the Champions League and the calibre of teams is hardly the best.
However, it does offer a route to qualifying for the next seasons Champions League and for that alone, it is important to Arsenal.
The Gunners record in the competition over the last couple of seasons has been good and there is a good chance they can win it. But they need to get some luck from the draw.
Basically, the group winners are seeded and the best four third-placed teams from the Champions League are also seeded. additionally, the seeded teams play the second leg at home.
The last thing Arsenal need is to face one of the seeded teams and be away for the second leg, especially when there are teams like Ajax, Benfica, RB Salzburg, Inter Milan and Man Utd potentially seeded. Though my understanding is that Arsenal cannot play a team from the same association in the last 32.
There will be a temptation for Freddie Ljungberg to play mainly kids against the Belgiums tomorrow night. That would be a huge mistake in my opinion.
Arsenal simply has to take the Europa League seriously and just as importantly, continue the momentum after the West Ham win. The last thing we need is to register a loss just before the Man City game.
On top of all that it is still silverware, European silverware and the cupboard is quite bare when it comes to those trophies.