Arsenal will pull out of their pre-season tour rather than field an inexperienced side in Europa League qualifiers, if they finish below Burnley.
After defeat in Madrid on Thursday, we now know Arsenal won’t be playing Champions League football next season. However, they can’t even guarantee Europa League football just yet. If Burnley overtake them to finish sixth, Arsenal will have to play qualifiers this summer to make it into the competition.
The problem is those qualifiers start on July 26th. That’s when the club are set to play Atletico Madrid, with PSG two days later. A spokesperson for Arsenal said they are aware of the clash, and would withdraw from their tour matches rather than fielding a B-team in either the friendlies or the Europa League qualifiers.
It would still take a major screw up for Arsenal to end up in seventh place though. The club are three points ahead of Burnley with a game in hand, and a hugely superior goal difference.
Even defeat to Sean Dyche’s side would only leave them needing one win from the final two matches. That’s if Burnley won their final match as well.
Still, given the zero points Arsenal have racked up away from home in 2018 league matches, it’s probably better not to take chances. A win on Sunday would secure the position and allow some youngsters and reserve players an opportunity in the final week. Let’s hope they get it.