We didn’t win it but, Arsenal semi-final idiocy aside, the Europa League brought about far more enjoyment than we’ve experienced in recent Champions League campaigns.
Arsenal’s entire 17/18 season seemed focused on getting us back into the Champions League, but given how badly Arsenal played for most of it, a trip through the Europa brought some much needed relief.
Arsenal played a total of 14 games in the Europa League, winning eight of them, drawing three and losing three. Compared to our league form, where we only managed a 50% win rate, it’s not hard to see why this competition offered light relief.
But it was more than that.
We went into games with the expectation that we would win, not get a pasting.
We travelled to new and weird places, faced teams we’d never heard of and even managed to lose to one of them.
It was an eclectic trip through a tournament that felt more like the old European Cup before the days of seeding and group stages.
While the Champions League has been polished for tourists, the Europa League felt more like a trip around town with the locals.
I’m glad we’re back in it next season.