The story of Arsenal’s first leg defeat against BATE Borisov has already been told over and over again. It’s the kind of loss that can threaten to derail your season, especially if your club is putting so much emphasis on a competition (such as the Europa League). Of course, there’s no guarantee that the Gunners are going to crash out of the Europa League later today, but we’re just preparing for the ‘worst case scenario’.
We aren’t suggesting that everything is going to fall apart if Arsenal don’t win one game of football later today, but let’s face it, it’s going to be pretty damaging. Unai Emery has been building for the future at the Emirates for what feels like forever now, even though it’s been less than a year. So far he’s had mixed reviews from the fans courtesy of some of the club’s results in the last few months, but one thing that supporters have held onto is his ability to avoid humiliation.
By humiliation, we’re referring to the kind of performances that we saw under Arsene Wenger during the last year of his reign. Yes, we know that fans are more inclined to remember the good times now that he’s gone, but we think that’s a bit false. Why? Because what’s the point in hiding away from the truth? It doesn’t do anything for anyone, in our book.
The answers are coming
BATE certainly worked for their first leg win and they’ll work hard again in the second leg, especially if they believe they can edge through to the next round. For Arsenal, though, if they can’t make it through this challenge, then the pressure on their push for the top four will go through the roof. There are already fans that are doubting their ability to secure a spot in the top four, and a result like this won’t help that.
The Gunners have two main methods of getting back into the Champions League: finishing in the top four, or winning the Europa League. We know that it’s hard to juggle two competitions, but by no means is it impossible. It just takes a bit of extra work and if the club can’t live up to that, at least for another round or two, then question marks will be raised. We don’t think Emery should go or anything crazy, but fans should prepare themselves for that kind of narrative.
Will Arsenal progress in the Europa League tonight?