After years of not competing in the Champions League is it time to truly embrace Thursdays?

Why not the Europa League?

I’m writing this just prior to the Man United home game. At the time of writing, we’re sixth in the table.

It looks like, even if we do get top four, that our league position would be the worst in over twenty years. Certainly the worst in Wenger’s tenure that I can recall.

However, fourth place is looking increasingly unlikely, and the dreaded Europa League may be our home. We have mocked Tottenham, Liverpool, Man Utd, and Chelsea for Thursday night action. Will they know mock us for same?

I say who cares if they do.

And why should it be a “shame” to be in the Europa League?

Man United’s prior game to the one vs. us was in the Europa League. Most Manchester United fans are ambivalent, and to Mourinho’s credit, he is taking it seriously. He has played Ibra, Pogba (against his brother no less), Rooney, Rashford, Herrera, de Gea, and other big guns.

Manchester United is a bigger club than Arsenal. It’s no shame to admit it, it’s just a fact. We’re both big clubs, in England/UK and globally. But United is bigger, whether commercially, in fan base terms, and brand/history.

Moreover, they have a more extensive record in European competition. They’ve won the Champions League three times, including the first English European Cup win in 1968. They’ve also won the Cup-Winners’ Cup, and the Club World Cup, and should they win the Europa League would possess a full set of trophies.

Therefore, whilst we are a big club, United are bigger, and they are not apparently turning their nose to the Europa League. The real reason I suspect is that it’s a mean to an end. The end being Champions League qualification, naturally.

So if it’s good enough for Man United, a bigger club than us, let’s be honest, why is it not OK for us?

We have to also consider these points:

  • We don’t compete in the CL. In 20 years in it, we’ve reached several quarter-finals, one final, and one semi-final. This is a poor record, and clubs like AC Milan, Inter, Ajax, Liverpool, Man United, and Dortmund have all won it in less time.
  • We lost 10-2 on aggregate to Bayern Munich. Which other team has that happened to?
  • Yes, we can attract top talent in the CL. But then if we bottle it every year, isn’t this as much a deterrent? Alexis has had consistent CL football, but then he may well leave. Being in it alone is not the issue, it’s competing.
  • It is important for revenues. Though if we don’t look to compete in it, this is moot. By not competing in it seriously, we are abusing the concept of the competition. Football, nay any sport, is about winning and competing, not milking the revenues.

We could actually win the Europa League. And I don’t see why this is bad or wrong.

Image result for arsenal cup winners cup 94

We’ve only won two European trophies, the 1970 Fairs Cup and the 1994 Cup-Winners’ Cup. We’ve finished runners-up on other occasions, but then compared to other top English clubs, this is paltry. Of the top six currently, Liverpool, Chelsea, United, and even f-ing Tottenham have won more than us. City won a Cup-Winners’ Cup long ago, but then evidently is looking to compete at the highest level. Beggars really cannot be choosers, and if a club like United, who has won the Champions League on multiple occasions, can take the Europa League seriously, why can’t we?

I’m not the biggest fan of the manager. But then if Mr. Wenger could win the Europa League, and end his tenure with a European trophy, then it could make fans warm to him to a far larger degree.

And it’s been too long since we last won a European trophy. Wenger also deserves one. The pains of 2000 and 2006 should be eradicated.

We’re in it so let’s be in it to win it

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