The UEFA Europa League may not be seen as a great competition by Arsenal fans, and understandably so after their loss in the final which prevented them from playing Champions League football next season. However, not only does it serve as a valid entry back into Europe’s biggest club competition, but it also gives other teams a chance to live out their dream of playing European football.
Here they come
Case in point: Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Midlands-based club have long since been viewed as a sleeping giant within English football, but in the last twelve months, they have been able to burst through the glass ceiling after finishing 7th in the top flight, qualifying for the Europa League and reaching the FA Cup semi-finals.
It may seem odd for us to be discussing them, but trust us, Arsenal fans are going to come to know Nuno’s side pretty well this season. Why? Because they’re almost guaranteed to be the biggest contenders for breaking into the top six. It still might seem a little bit unlikely, but if they can keep forcing the issue like they did last season, the likes of Arsenal could be in trouble.
What happens next?
Plus, if they can add a little bit of depth into their ranks, then there is no reason to believe that they can’t go really far in the Europa League. Last season proved just how capable English sides are of reaching the latter stages of these tournaments, and Wolves fans are already feeling pretty confident about their chances. Below is a list of clubs that they could potentially face, as they prepare for the first of three qualifying rounds that will decide whether or not they reach the group stages.
- AEL Limassol (CYP)
- Sabail (AZE) / Universitatea Craiova (ROU)
- Shakhtyor Soligorsk (BLR) / Hibernians (MLT)
- Connah’s Quay (WAL) / Kilmarnock (SCO)
- Crusaders (NIR) / B36 Tórshavn (FRO)
- Jeunesse Esch (LUX) / Tobol Kostanay (KAZ)
A lot of Gunners supporters will probably choose to believe that the schedule that lies ahead for Wolves is going to be detrimental for them, but we don’t necessarily think that’s the case. Once they’ve been able to adjust to the nature of the Europa League after a game or two, they should be better suited ahead of what is bound to be a really landmark campaign for them.
Will you be keeping an eye on Wolves, both in the Premier League and Europa League, this season?