Does Leicester draw show Arsenal have been planning for Europa League money?

Our unbelievable 1-1 draw against Leicester most likely ended our outside chances of qualifying for the Champions League. We are simply going to run out of games to be able to catch Leicester or Chelsea, while Man United have a favourable run-in.

I know some gooners were frustrated by a couple of decisions by VAR but at least we got reassurance over our future off the pitch. Many fans are uncertain what football will look like come the transfer market. Who will have money to spend? Who won’t?

As I write this it is still not known if crowds will be back in stadiums for the start of next season. How long can teams survive without that revenue stream?

Before locking down Arsenal were already detailing how much income had been lost by playing in the Europa League for three years. Essentially, we have been paying CL wages for a squad in Europe’s second tier tournament. As usual there’s been a lack of clarity from the Kroenke family.

What exactly is our worst-case scenario?

Should we be worried?

Not just in terms of signings in the summer but the long term. You don’t ask your players to take reduced salaries for nothing.

From a business perspective we have always been run well. Failure again to be in the top 4 would have been accounted for but no one could have predicted a worldwide pandemic. 60,000 fans at the Emirates buying food and drink and merchandise was one part of the organisation you could count on as the owner.

Does the loss of earnings from a matchday make it imperative we are playing in UEFA’s main competition?

My fear was not doing that would put us in the red, to such a degree we would fall further behind those at the top. After all you can hardly make any guarantees when or if we will be playing the likes of Barcelona or Bayern Munich again.

When discussing with players though the idea of restructuring their pay, all parties agreed on targets. All but 3 Gunners agreed to the incentive of where they finish will determine what percentage is added to their pay slip.

Yesterday’s actions confirm that Arteta has been assured that the Europa League place will be enough to still have a realistic action plan in place. Why else would he choose to protect the point? It shows that while it won’t make you as rich as it’s big cousin the club have decided it’s better than nothing.

Some of our fanbase have disagreed; saying ‘it’s all or nothing’. That if we can’t get into the main comp, we should take a year out and just focus on domestic football. If that was our manager’s thinking he would have chased the winner against the Foxes even down to 10 men. In terms of fulfilling our chosen objective a draw and a loss is the same thing – they end our hopes of being back in the main dance.

Yet instead of looking at it as 2 points dropped, the Gunners seemed to look at the bigger picture and accept the point could be vital in finishing above Wolves and Sheffield United. That’s why we made a defensive change by taking off Auba with still 8 minutes to play.

The way players were talking pre-match it was like they have made the decision that European Football of any sort will be accepted due to how low we have fallen in this campaign.

Part of finding any solution is admitting you have problems. It takes a smart man to admit to limitations, and our head coach simply didn’t feel that, with a man disadvantage against a team 3rd in the table, we had it in us to go on the attack. In the past we would have made that mistake.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying I will be happy if say we finished 6th. But by seeing Arteta accept the draw, it assures me there is a plan in place if the Europa League is our reality. If it was top 4, or be the next Leeds, he wouldn’t sub his top scorer.

When not going bust is a silver lining you know it’s been a horrible season!

Dan Smith


  1. It has been a horrible season Dan, only made better by Arteta and co. having a plan as you say.

    I thought staying out of European football would be a better option – time to rebuild, but then I thought that the competition is better than nothing and there is always the carrot of winning it.

    I’m not coming down on Kroenke for the pay cut as there must be other clubs worried stiff about staying afloat too. The business model that’s relied so much on match day revenue has come a cropper during this pandemic

  2. Am sorry, I totally disagree, the draw against Leicester wasnt a bad result considering our current situation, however , no matter how low a team is, the players/coach can never wish for loss or a draw from a winning position especially the hard fought game like that, what would you have had the coach do, we were 1 man down, AUBA was tired and the mf were been overrun, his sub was a good one, Europa was my hope innitially because we lost UCL places by December

  3. It’s a bit silly to blame the owners for the uncertainty, especially in light of the recent costly debt consolidation. The whole world is facing an uncertain future. Our income next year depends entirely on government who themselves have no idea what to expect.

  4. I wonder what that debt buyout means for Arsenal, is it Kroenke doing something business savvy or is it to help fire AFC forward in this harsh climate. I hope it benefits the team, the timing of it though, if it happened in one of the other years I would’ve been very hopeful.

    I was confident for the Leic game, actually had expectations finally, thought we’d start to worry those teams around there, big sucker punch. But we now just need to win this next game and get the mood set again, and hope teams in driving seat feel pressure and sink their own ship.

  5. I dont think that Arteta had any thoughts of any European football, when he made substitutions against Leicester, it purely to try and make sure we didn’t lose. We were only ever looking at EL after Brighton and City defeats. Not being in the CL is a miner disaster, not being in the EL is a major disaster. Winning the EL is such a money spinner and passage into CL, we cant afford not to be in it. Arsenal without European football are Crystal Palace and West ham, with it we can increase revenue into the club. Arteta is better cutting his teeth in EL anyways. Its probably better for us to play at a level we should be able too, than one (CL) that we would go out in group stages.

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