Arsenal are set to take on Bodo/Glimt at the Emirates tomorrow night in the Europa League, and Mikel Arteta has insisted that the competition shouldn’t be considered a distraction from the Premier League.
The Gunners currently sit pretty at the top of the Premier League table, with a one-point lead over Manchester City in second, and you could be forgiven for hoping that we drop out of the Europa in order to concentrate on a potential title push.
While many of us are reluctant to admit that we are in the race for the title just yet, the fact remains that we are more than just in contention thus far, and you many are deeming us as odds-on to earn a return to the Champions League via our league position.
The manager insisted while talking to Arsenal Media that playing tomorrow isn’t a hinderence however, and expects the club’s fans to be very-much onside against the Norwegian outfit tomorrow.
“It’s a help. Playing in Europe is always great and tomorrow I think we’re going to have a great atmosphere again at the Emirates. We want to produce those nights and we know that we want to be playing yesterday and today, but at the moment it’s our reality and we have to accept it. It’s part of our next step.
“It’s a test for the squad in terms of the numbers and the quality that you have when you make changes and how much you notice that. At the same time, it’s about how you are able to consistently play at the highest level and demand that of yourself and be successful doing it.
It’s not something that we did last season and it’s something we will have to do this year for different reasons, but I think everybody is going to have to be able to do that after the World Cup, especially with the scheduling that we have.”
Considering we have been using a lot of the squad for the competition thus far, and with the fact that we have kept up a near-perfect run of results in the league so far, I don’t have an issue with us continuing in the EL. After January however, it could well be in our favour to continue using the competition to play our extended squad, as opposed to stretching our first-team stars should we remain as potential league winners.
Do you think we will have to prioritise the Premier League in the new year?
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