One of the things that has been well noted in regards to Arsenal Football Club is that they have pretty dramatic ‘inconsistency’ issues. Nobody knows from one week to the next what kind of version of this team you’re going to get, and that can be pretty stressful. Earlier this week, however, they were able to put in the kind of performance that rendered all that noise pointless – for a few hours, at least.
Heading into their Europa League semi final first leg against Valencia, it was clear to see that the Gunners were in desperate need of a win. Their three losses on the bounce have left them on the outside of the top four picture looking in, needing a few favours from elsewhere in order to be able to overtake Chelsea and Manchester United. The Europa League is their only other route back into the Champions League for next season, and everyone involved with the club is well aware of that fact.
When they went 1-0 down early on the panic button was being pushed by fans all over the Emirates, as the worry started to creep in. Eventually, though, they composed themselves, dusted themselves off, and put the Spaniards to the sword with three unanswered goals that give them the advantage heading into the second leg. Of course, there were negatives to the game as reported by BBC, but we aren’t going to give that kind of story the time of day.
The big question that the majority of folks have now is simple: is their priority going to be solely on the Europa League instead of the Premier League? In our mind, the answer is a resounding yes.
‘It’s our target to reach the final and win this trophy. We know it’s an opportunity to qualify for next year’s Champions League. ‘We stopped in the semi-finals last year, but we’ve learned from last year’s errors and hopefully this year we won’t do the same. We will give everything to qualify for the Champions League.’
Those are the words of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as reported by Metro, which seems to give us a pretty good idea of where the Gunners’ priorities are at right now.
We still think they need to give everything they’ve got to their final two Premier League games as a back-up, but if they’re going to sacrifice one competition above the other, it’s going to be the league.
People can moan and groan about the Europa all they want, but this kind of situation really does make it all worth it. Sure, the quality isn’t on par with the Champions League and you could argue it doesn’t even come close, but there’s a motivation there and that’s all you need to create some entertaining viewing.
You’ve got one of the best trophies (physically speaking, it is amazing) in world football, you’ve got a burning desire in all four remaining teams to qualify for the Champions League, and you’ve got a fun ‘final’ occasion for whoever reaches Baku.
Call us optimists, but we’re struggling to find the flaws.