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Why the Europa League will be this new Arsenal’s Springboard

Europa-League

Arsenal finished 5th in the last premier league season. From an emotional point of view, it was very disappointing especially when at one point of the season Arsenal were so close to securing the Champions League qualification.

However, Arsenal being in the Europa League does not necessarily have to be all doom and gloom. As the club’s summer business is staring to show, there are some advantages of being in the Europa League, rather than Champions league too.

 

Squad building and youth development

Last season, Arsenal only had domestic competitions to play and it was expected that it would work in their favour.

But in fact, it didn’t really turn out to be the case. While there were some benefits in Arsenal being able to keep fielding the same eleven, as soon as key players such as Partey, Tierney and Tomiyasu got injured, its downsides started to show.

Arsenal had no games to play their rotational options. When squad players were called into action, you could see that they ware struggling initially.

The experience of Elneny and Holding meant that it wasn’t too big a problem for them, but it was clear that younger players could do with a little more game time to keep up with the rhythm of the first team football.

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Charlie’s stage in Europe? (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Fortunately, next season Arsenal have Europa league games and they will provide exactly that. This would not be the case if Arsenal had Champions League.

For example, last season Liverpool were in the same group as AC Milan, Porto, and Atletico Madrid. I’m not sure if Arsenal can afford to give opportunities to young players and rotational options in Champions League group stages and Arsenal would’ve been forced to play their best eleven.

Also, in the past few years, Europa League played a very important part in developing Arsenal’s brightest young prospects.

Balogun

Chance again for younger players?

Saka and Martinelli were given chances in this competition and it proved to be a very good step for their first team career. Although he didn’t make it at Arsenal, Joe Willock also played many games in Europa League and brought Arsenal some healthy transfer fees.

At this stage, it is very difficult to name who will be the next Europa League star, but there are plenty of youth prospects at Arsenal who might get opportunities in the Europa League that will be vital to their development, which would not be possible if Arsenal played in the Champions League.

 

Winnable competition

Another point that should not be underestimated is that Europa League is actually a winnable competition for Arsenal and that would give the club a European trophy.

Of course it’s nice to be ambitious and you never know in football etc. but most fans would agree that Arsenal don’t have a realistic chance of winning the Champions League quite yet. (The last time Arsenal made it past best 16 was more than 10 years ago!).

In contrast, in the past 5 years, Arsenal have made it to the Europa League final once and Semi final twice. It might depend on who comes down from the Champions League group stage but Arsenal are one of the favourites to win the Europa League.

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Ready to go one better than under Unai?

Winning the Europa League brings the prestige and the prize money, and perhaps more importantly, the secret route to the 23/24 season’s Champions league.

Of course it would be ideal if Arsenal secure the Champions League qualification through premier league and didn’t have to rely on this, but at the same time, fighting for the 4th position while playing mid week games is a new challenge for Arteta and his team.

With the new additions and improvements of young players, Arsenal will be a better better team next season but other teams will also strengthen and the fixture list will be tougher(and the threat of Newcastle is looming on the horizon).

In case Arsenal struggle in the domestic league, it is quite possible that in 10 months’ time, winning Europa league seems more viable route to the Champions League.

Eddie-v-Leeds

Will Eddie rise to challenge?

Personally my only worry was how lack of Champions League football would affect Arsenal’s tranfsers this summer, in terms of both budget and attraction to players. So far, it does not look like Arsenal’s spending abilities are severely limited.

(Provided Eddie Nketia will turn out to be a good second striker, other transfers do go through) maybe Arsenal being in the Europa League brings some benefits to the team this season.

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2 Responses to Why the Europa League will be this new Arsenal’s Springboard

  1. bushido July 5, 2022 at 12:36 am #

    yes but at the same time we shouldn’t underestimate the Europa League either. Europa League is no longer ala Conference League and is a back door to Champions League football and every team competing in it will field their strongest 11 from the start of the competition. we shouldn’t forget how, when Arsenal were fielding 2nd string players against lesser opponent in the Champions League and get humiliated and nearly drop out from the group stage. it also happened when Arsenal were playing in the Europa League previously so it really can be a double edge sword

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