Later today, Arsenal will find out who they will play in the group stages of the Europa League. The Gunners will fancy their chances of winning Europe’s secondary competition this season after making it to the semi-finals last season.
Europa League experience
Although the Europa League is not as high profile as the Champions League, it is still a big trophy to win. The Gunners biggest achievement in the European game remains winning the Cup Winners’ Cup back in 1994.
However, the north London’s club trip to the last four of the competition last season means they now have experience of advancing to the latter stage of the competition.
Meanwhile, boss Unai Emery won the competition in three consecutive seasons with Sevilla from 2014 to 2016. The Spaniard is unlikely to undervalue the competition, although he may rotate his squad just as former boss Arsene Wenger did last season.
Experience is vital in European competitions, so hopefully, the bosses’ experience coupled with the team’s recent experience will stand them in good stead for this season’s competition.
Their best chance of Champions League football next season
Obviously, the Gunners priority this season will be to finish in the top four of the Premier League and gained a place at Europe’s top table for next season. However, with such stiff opposition for a place in the Premier League’s top-four, winning the Europa League looks like the Gunners best chance of claiming a Champions League spot for next season.
Emery’s side are odds of 8/1 to win the Europa League this season, with only London rivals Chelsea shorter odds to lift the trophy next May. The Gunners were also one of the favourites to win the trophy last season, but Spanish side Atletico Madrid proved too strong for the north London outfit in the last four.
Arsenal have the quality to succeed in the Europa League
On paper, Arsenal have the quality to make a big impact in this season’s Europa League. There are very few teams in the competition that the Gunners will be wary of, with Chelsea the strongest team in the Europa League.
With a bit of luck and strong performances, there is no reason why Unai Emery’s side cannot win the Europa League this season. With it would come a backdoor entry into Europe’s elite competition, which they have failed to qualify for in the last two seasons.
Is winning the Europa League Arsenal’s best chance of Champions League football?