What a season it has turned into for Arsenal. They have watched Manchester City dominate in the league, while City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham are all enjoying successful campaigns in the Champions League too. The FA Cup returns this weekend and they will once again be watching on, with their season now down to one competition – the Europa League.
Arsenal are now eight points behind Chelsea in the final Champions League spot which means that they will likely miss out on a top-four berth. While they do have a chance to win the EFL Cup by beating Manchester City, it would likely not be enough to be seen as a successful season.
Last year it was unthinkable that they would miss out on a Champions League spot, but if they are to do it two seasons in a row then it would be a catastrophe.
It is now clear that the Europa League, a competition that was so derided by different sets of fans, is their last viable hope. A win in the competition brings with it a place in Europe’s elite competition, and it is the same route Manchester United took last year after finishing outside of the top-four.
However, Jose Mourinho’s men had the guile and willpower to grind out results in the Europa League, whereas Arsenal have been consistently inconsistent this season.
Wenger will know that the long road they must walk until the end starts against Ostersunds on Thursday, and if they can’t find a way to lift the Europa League trophy by the end of the season, then it will be seen as another failure of a campaign.