Arsène Wenger wants Arsenal to win the Europa League, but won’t give it any special treatment, despite the Gunners falling behind in the Premier League.
Arsenal have won all their Europa League games so far, but sit sixth in the Premier League, leading some fans to suggest that it might be better if the Gunners focused on the European competition, even if that means falling behind in the league.
Manchester United did so last season, only managed a sixth place finish, but have made it into the Champions League regardless, after winning the competition.
Wenger said Arsenal do want to win the competition, but won’t give up on the other avenues to Europe. He explained: “For us it’s a trophy to potentially win. We want to do well in all the competitions,” reports the Daily Star.
“In six days this week we play Europa League, the Premier League and the League Cup – we want to fight in every competition. It’s one of the routes but it’s not the only one for us.”
Given the size of Arsenal’s squad, they should be able to field two completely different teams for each match, as they pretty much have done so far.
With the exception of players like Sead Kolašinac, Hector Bellerín and Nacho Monreal, who have played parts in multiple competitions, the Gunners’ starting eleven have mostly been completely replaced for the League Cup and Europa League, with youngsters preferred for bench places as well.
It’s likely to be a similar story on Thursday night, with Jordi Osei-Tutu and Ben Sheaf becoming the latest youth players to make a European trip and get some involvement with the first-team. So it seems like Wenger isn’t ready to throw his first-team into the mix in the Europa League just yet.