Favourable EL draw, but Arsenal must perform at their best by Konstantin Mitov
Well lads, what better medicine after losing a game, than seeing Spurs go all spursy with Jose Mourinho at the helm, to drop out of the Europa League? That guy Orsic is already an Arsenal legend, without playing a game for the club! In all seriousness that was one of the best European hat-tricks I’ve ever seen.
Anyway, we also played yesterday and lost 0-1. It was an off-pace performance in a game that was basically won in Greece. Aubameyang was really poor. I think he needs to earn his place and I hope we stick to Lacazette up front or perhaps give Gabi M a chance for once? Don’t know why Arteta doesn’t pick him.
Anyway, after all the drama, one North London club was in the draw, and Arsenal got Slavia Prague. On paper, you can’t argue with the draw, but if there is anything to be learnt from what them lot down the road did, it is you can’t switch off against any opposition in Europe. Yesterday we had more than enough chances to win, yet we lost.
We’ve been missing a lot of chances and that has to improve. And before people start thinking of the potential final with Man Utd, because the semis draw was also done, Slavia Prague is no joke. They knocked out Leicester and Rangers. To be honest that kind of passed by me, but now that we’ve drawn them I hope we take them with all seriousness.
We’re at home for the first tie and again, Tottenham won 2-0 at home and yet in the last 30 minutes of the second leg they lost their lead and eventually the game. And let’s get it one game at a time, before we think about Villarreal or Dynamo Zagreb.
That said, although I hardly believe in superstitions or faith, with the way we tried our best to self-destruct in the Europa, and somehow managed to get past Benfica and then pull it together against Olympiacos and now the draw we’ve got? Despite the fact that we’re 10th and having a poor season, we do have a squad that, on it’s day, is good enough to beat any of the remaining EL sides, even United, who we did manage to beat at OT for the first time since forever.
Another thing is that we’ve been alright in cup competitions lately. We’ve seen this set of players bomb the league for a number of seasons now, but in individual games where nobody thinks we can do it, even like Sunday against Spurs, we can come out fighting. We’ve done it in the FA cup too. When there was a trophy on the line and it’s decided on a few games, we’ve pulled it together against the odds.
We beat Man City in the semis and Chelsea in the final, both better teams than what we have in front of us. If you are an Arsenal player right now and you aren’t 110% up for those EL games, you shouldn’t be here next season. We don’t have any major injuries and we have momentum despite yesterday’s result.
The chance to get to a potential European final should be motivation enough, especially, when you know it could be United waiting. And also doing it by beating the conquerors of Leicester and those of Spurs or Unai Emery’s team? The Europa league is much more valuable than it once was. There’s a CL spot at the end and as you can see, not just in England, you are never safe from missing out. We’ve done it, so have United, Liverpool and Chelsea down the years. There are too many good teams in England and only 4 CL spots.
The path is set and it’s doable. Having CL football will affect the type of players we can attract and there are still quite a few places where upgrades would be very welcome. I just hope the players and the manager understand this and we are focused in every game, cut out the mistakes and then see where we end up. We aren’t entitled to win anything, but I believe we can do it, do you?