Arsenal academy manager Per Mertesacker thinks Arsenal can definitely win the Europa League, and he thinks the team want to make amends after last year’s elimination.
Arsenal have travelled to Naples for the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday, and the Gunners are in a commanding position after securing a 2-0 victory in the reverse fixture at the Emirates Stadium. Per Mertesacker was asked by Goal whether he thinks the team can win the entire competition, and he seemed positive.
“Definitely,” Mertesacker responded. “The team is in the midst of the fight for the top four in the league, has the Europa League and has grown throughout these experiences.
“The first leg was great, but in Naples – the city, the fans, the special atmosphere – it can quickly go in the other direction. We are glad that we did not concede a goal. Nevertheless, the chances for the semi-final are good – and we have to make up for that after last year’s elimination.”
There’s always that fear about what might happen with Arsenal’s away form being so poor, but they’re going to have to overcome that to make it back into the Champions League. Even if they crash out of the Europa League on Thursday night, they’ll still have to win away in the Premier League to make the top four, so there’s no escaping it.
Plus, as Mertesacker highlights, the squad should want to make things right after what happened last season. The Gunners made it all the way to the semi-final and faced a 10-man Atletico Madrid side for much of the first leg, but they could still only manage a damaging 1-1 draw and ended up eliminated 2-1 on aggregate.
That process of making amends starts with finishing the job against Napoli. If you’re thinking of betting on the Gunners to progress, check out this 888Sport Review first.