Arsenal were blindsided by a very poor loss at the hands of Watford at the weekend as they went down 2-1. The Gunners had been building up ahead of steam in recent weeks with a number of good wins and solid performances seeing them back into a position in which they may have been able to challenge in the league but, in true Arsenal style, they wasted their momentum.
Now, they face a massive task to get their Premier League season back on track following that loss. They are immediately given the chance to get that defeat out of their system on Thursday with a Europa League clash against Red Star Belgrade.
The game is very important to their current campaign as it could constitute their best chance of attaining a Champions League spot. While many have questioned whether Arsene Wenger should make the most of the competition to give the younger players so time on the pitch, it would be foolish to do this.
The Premier League is an incredibly tight league as standard, but this year it has been taking up a notch. Manchester City and Manchester United look like they are on a level above the other teams, while Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool will be battling Arsenal for the other Champions League spots.
It is therefore vital that Arsenal do not pass up the chance to utilise the Europa League. Gone are the days in which the ‘bigger teams’ would play a weak side for the Thursday games as they now know that winning the competition would ensure a place in Europe’s premier competition.
While it may pay Wenger to utilise one or two younger players that he thinks can handle the pressure, he would be foolish to drop all of his big names.