Mikel Arteta has admitted that the Europa League is Arsenal’s best chance of qualifying for the Champions League for next season.
The Gunners have dropped down to tenth place in the division, but only sit eight points behind Chelsea who currently occupy the fourth and final qualifying place for Europe’s elite competition.
With this in mind, Arteta was initially asked if he would prioritise the competition due to the possibility of qualifying for the Champions League, and he initially avoided admitting that it was his best shot at qualification.
“It’s one of the ways,” Arteta said coyly. “There’s still a lot of games to play in the Premier League too but obviously, we are very excited with this competition. We’ve been on a really strong run this season in the Europa League and tomorrow we have a good opportunity to make another step [forward].”
When Arteta was asked if he was already thinking about the possibility of winning the competition however, he opened up on his side’s chances, before admitting that it was his in fact his side’s best route into the Champions League.
“Victory is always in the back of my mind,” He added. “Why were are here is to win trophies for this club and this is a competition that we want to be linked to as well because we are participating. The Champions League has been massive for this club but at the moment we are not in it. The best way to get back to that is by winning this competition.”
Benfica are not the easiest opponents to be coming up against by any means, but should we manage to overcome tonight’s opposition, then there is no reason why we shouldn’t be looking at going all the way, especially having reached the final two seasons ago.