It’s never nice to see your rivals succeed in football, partly because it so often reminds you how much further your own team has to go before they can get to that level. Sometimes rivals are on par with each other, but more often than not, one is on a higher pedestal than the other – and unfortunately for Arsenal fans, they’re currently much lower down than Tottenham Hotspur.
It’s not like they haven’t beaten them in ten years or anything like that, but all you need to do is examine the trajectory of their respective seasons. The Gunners peaked far too early and have been dropping in recent weeks, whereas Spurs have had their down moments, but kept things steady and are starting to enjoy the benefits of that. One major benefit for them actually came last night, when they came from 3-0 down on aggregate to defeat Ajax and book their ticket to the UEFA Champions League Final.
They’ve left Arsenal fans looking in every possible direction for a shining light, with Football.London even reporting that they’re desperately calling upon Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to ‘save them’. As we all know Ox used to play at the Emirates for the Gunners, but now, he’ll have the chance to get one over on Spurs when they play Liverpool (who he now plays for) in the final.
Tonight Arsenal, alongside Chelsea, face a pretty high pressure situation. Given that Spurs and Liverpool were both losing heading into their second legs and went on to qualify for the final, it seems obvious to suggest that Chelsea and Arsenal, who are both leading (either on aggregate or away goals), will be able to reach the Europa League final themselves.
It’s up to you guys to decide whether there’s any real logic in that thought process, but the bottom line is this: if Arsenal lose tonight and go out of the Europa League, this season has been a failure for Unai Emery. They would’ve gone another season without silverware, and their inability to finish in the top four would mean they don’t play Champions League football next season.
Goal.com are reporting when the game kicks off and where you can watch it, but none of that matters. Arsenal need to block out the noise that has been created by their noisy neighbours, and they need to rise above it. If they can’t, and if they let the pressure get to them, then AFTV won’t make for good viewing later on this evening.
Getting to the summer transfer window in one piece is going to be a good place to start for Emery, who has had a fascinating first season at the helm of the club. He was able to guide them to a 22 game unbeaten run, and yet despite that, nobody really remembers the streak. Sure, it’s something that exists and that can be openly acknowledged by all, but it pales in comparison to what Tottenham have been able to do.
Obviously fans shouldn’t focus too much on their rivals, but sometimes it’s just impossible.