Should Top Four now be Arsenal’s priority over the Europa League?

It is only a couple of years ago that Jose Mourinho decided to give up battling for the race for the Top Four and concentrated all his efforts on winning the Europa League as the best route to the Champions League, and it could be that this season Arsenal may be forced to make a decision like that as the games keep coming thick and fast towards the climax of the season.

Granit Xhaka thinks that the Top Four must be our Number One target: “After Arsene Wenger left a lot of things changed in this club,” he said. “We are happy with the coach, we improve a lot, we work a lot.

“It’s a big step if we come back to the Champions League. We want it as well. It’s not easy, we know that, but we keep working.

“Two times in two years we didn’t play Champions League. A club like Arsenal have to play in the Champions League and we have to show that always on the pitch.

“We work a lot, changed our identity, you can see that week after week. It’s important that we are there, not so far from the Champions League. Last games we want to take the points and to finish in the top four.

“If you win Europa League you go straight away to Champions League. But I think Premier League is our first priority to go the Champions League.”

It is true there are still some very big clubs left in the Europa League knockouts, and we could start getting even harder games from the quarter finals onwards. Do you think it would be better if we saved our big guns for the weekend Premier League games or should we go all out to win both competitions?



  1. Finishing in the top four will be easier given our fixtures, compared to the quality in the EL, but I don’t see why we can’t go for both. Emery rotates a lot, so that should keep our players fresh.

    1. Agree. I see no star player in Emery’s team. Different tactics with different players and they must work hard to earn the starting positions

      The team is more cohesive now, despite the fake internal conflict news by the media

      Nonetheless, I predict the Emery Out Brigade would come back if Arsenal get beaten by Man United. These types of fans are the ones that idolizes their favorite players more than the club and very impatient

      1. gotanidea, and I take it you see yourself as a model fan then?

        Those of us who were questioning UE’s decisions were actually debating and discussing…ever heard of it?

        In the last few games, we have seen UE turn away from his three at the back, picking seven defenders, conceding goals in every game and managing just three shots in one game.

        The fake internal conflict? I bow to your obvious knowledge of what is going on at the club, but now that UE/MO and Myk seem to have resolved their fake differences, the squad are performing in a much more positive way.

        If we lose on Sunday, let’s hope us fans will be allowed to debate, without being catagorised as either anti or pro UE.
        If we win on Sunday, let’s hope us fans will be allowed to debate, without being catagorised as either anti or pro UE.

        Can you see any difference in the sentiments of either of those last two sentences?
        Does that make me an impatient fan, or one who questions things I don’t understand?

        1. ken1945. I agree with gotanidea, that Unai Emery has been unfairly criticised by some on here from the date of his appointment. For a new coach in the EPL following 22 seasons under a great in Arsene Wenger, with the injury, imbalanced squad, lack of investment and contract issues he has faced Unai Emery has exceeded expectations.
          Most people agreed at the start that maintaining Arsenal’s position (particularly given the experiences at Manchester United post Ferguson) would be a good effort. You yourself have mentioned assessment at the end of the season and the need for a number of transfer windows to fully address issues. I have noticed a hardening of your position over the last few months corresponding to Ozil’s absences, which has dismayed me. I would be the first to admit that at least you, unlike red and white and Jah son, try to provide rational argument.

          1. Ozzie,as I choose to longer reply directly to Ken(and vice-versa),I will therefore reply to your reply to him and say I much agree with you and dislike his snide sarcasm, as I see it, to got an idea’s sensible post. Ken dresses up clear and unfair criticism of Emery which, as he well knows, has been rife on here ever since the 22 match unbeaten run ended, as discussion. Well, all fair people are fine with discussion but there is discussion and there is mistrust and I differ with Ken on that matter where Emery is concerned. My take on Emery is that he has done amazingly well to keep our squad , which is far inferior to Chelseas/ Uniteds/ Spurs and yet, YET, we are neck and neck with them all. Emery has had to bear the continuing fans frustration, esp with the “defence” caused IMO, largely by Wenger, Gazidis and of cause Kroenke. To be fair to Wenger, he too had the Kroenke handicap but made it worse by bad buys and wasting precious money on inferior players and by ignoring defence in general. Emery has made things better, in particular restored a fight in our team which was so sadly lacking in Wengers last several years. I hate unfair criticism and will always stand up for those who are unfairly treated.

  2. Our priority should rightly be to punish Rennes (convincingly) on their ground and then show OGS he cannot come to Emirates Stadium and expect a single point. Any less than two wins in our next fixtures will result in circumstances spiraling out of control for our team. We’v already made things difficult (for ourselves) in terms of salvaging something from our season.

    1. The Rennes game will be a good chance to see what Ismaila Sarr can do

      Have not seen how Solskjaer’s Man United play in a big away match, but I hope he doesn’t choose to park the bus like Mourinho

  3. Our priority should be to go for both.
    I don’t really see how one competition affects the other.
    Emery has rotated the squad well; Lichsteiner/Jenks/Mustafi, Guendouzi/Torreira/Xhaka, Ramsey/Ozil/Iwobi, Lac/Aubameyang, Leno/Cech. No excuses not to try to win every game with the strongest possible team picked to suit the opposition.

  4. Our priority should be – and always should be – to just win the next game infront of you. Therefore today our priority is the Europa League.

    However, this next two months is where a coach like Emery will really earn his bean! It’s not often a club can be successful on both fronts – especially one pulled apart by injuries like we have.

    People asked why we signed Denis Suarez if we arnt going to use him, well trust me, if we get to the later stages of the Europa we will need to be able to rest some of our attacking options when we are playing every 3-4 days for two months solid.

    In Europe – if we get any favourable draws (on paper) we should be going all out to win the first legs – like we did against Ostersunds, Milan and CSKA last season – to ensure we can control the second legs rather than trying to dominate them.

    As a fan, I’d rather win the Europa League even if it meant finishing sixth. But should we finish outside the top four – I’d be concerned about the extra pressure that puts us under to win a potential final….

    1. What a sensible post, full of well argued truths. I woukld welcome more posts from you Richard.

    2. So your argument is if we reach to the later stages.
      I thought when a player was signed up it was for one reason and that is to play. The excuses we make for Emery.

      1. What excuses are we making, Jah son? I don’t think Emery needs us to make excuses for him, but rational explanations for Arsenal not leading the EPL may help each other.
        By the way, when are you applying to be Emery’s replacement? I look forward to perusing your CV.

  5. Has anyone looked at Che fixture list, I’ve been looking at ours v Manu and forget all about Che there for a while. I looked at league table and seen they had two games in hand which one was won yesterday. Ours might be more favorable but you cannot take it for granted, teams surprise you, and if you let your guard down you will get punished. The manu game is massive, but I think Emery will still take the Rennes game very serious, I say this because I presume that article is probably asking if we should prioritize Manu over Rennes even if just little a bit. The Lacazette and Torriera decisions are made for Emery, Torriera will now play Europe and Lacazette the league. I like the Torriera – Xhaka partnership though and would’ve preferred that v Manu.

    1. We will face United next Sunday at home, and that’s the last of our fixture vs. top 6. It’s a must win match.

      United will face City and Chelsea.

      Chelsea will face United and City.

      Spurs will face City and Pool.

      Granted, we also have tough away fixtures to Everton, Wolves and Leicester.

  6. Top 4 in the premiership
    Man city — wins the league
    Liverpool — second
    Chelsea — 79 pts
    Arsenal — 78 pts
    Man u — 77 pts
    Spurs — 74 pts

    Don’t worry, u can thank me by May…

  7. I am still gutted with that penalty.I just hope it doesn’t come back to haunt us in May..But Auba how could you do that??

      1. I can imagine Sue,he must be very angry with himself.My coach once told me that the easiest way to take a penalty is to pick your spot&hit that ball damn hard.I saw Lampad doing this over &over and he rarely got it wrong. How I wish it was Xhaka or Kolasinac on that ball.

    1. “…Auba how could you do that??”

      I’m still gutted too, particularly as a keeper is meant to have next to no chance against a top 10 premiership hitman in a penalty situation. However, Lloris is not just any keeper but a world cup winning keeper and french team captain with it.

      What Does that prove? you may ask. It suggests that as a FRANCE International he’s been in more high-pressure games and had success than has Auba added to this he’s a WC winning captain who knows better than most how to command his area, arrive at good decisions and ultimately show to keep his head (at the highest level).

      There you have it in answer to your Q although we have a good keeper theirs is a good keeper too

      1. Well Said W2W.
        However, as much as I agree that Loris is a good keeper,that was a very poor kick by Auba.No precision,no power and worse enough it is on the 90th minute mark…I need some water please,this is so dehydrating.

  8. And an encroaching defender to get in Aubameyang’s eyeline and clear off the line from the follow up.

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