As Unai Emery said this week, the highest position possible in the Premier League must be Arsenal’s biggest priority, but the fact is that few of us really believe we have any chance of winning it, so it is nice to have a separate target that is achievable, like the Europa League.
Emery has won the trophy three times before, and it was obvious from last night’s team selection that the Spaniard is taking it very seriously indeed, and this was backed up by Henrikh Mhkitaryan who said after the 4-2 win: “He’s won this competition three times and it’s very important for us, for Arsenal, because we’re playing in this competition to win. We’re not just playing to participate. It’s very important because if you win then you can get a spot for the Champions League, so we’re trying to win every game and we will see where we get.”
And the scorer of two of our goals, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, also made it clear how important this competition is for our ambitions. “Of course [we want to win it], especially for me because I didn’t play in the Europa League last year and I am really happy to be back in this competition. We want to go to the final of course, it is an objective and hopefully we will do well in our next games.
“We know that the Premier League is long, there are a lot of games, but these ones we need to win straight away, we have to perform quickly so it is good to start with a win and the next game will be important for us also.”
Last season the Group Stage games lacked interest for us fans knowing that Arsene Wenger didn’t think that the trophy was important as proven by playing reserves and youth players. Now we can take a real interest and believe that Emery will do his utmost to win it. And with that attitude, we may even achieve it!