Arsenal are planning to take the Europa League very seriously this season and name strong teams whenever possible, according to a report.
Arsenal begin their Europa League campaign with their first group stage match away to FC Zurich on Thursday, and the Mirror report that Mikel Arteta will take a strong squad to Switzerland.
Though the Gunners will rest and rotate players at times, they reportedly intend to go stronger than some other big clubs have in the Europa League.
In a way, that makes sense. This is an opportunity for Arsenal to win a European trophy and qualify for the Champions League next season, so they won’t want any early upsets taking away that chance.
At the same time, it’s going to be a balancing act for Arteta. If he takes his first-choice lineup around Europe and regularly names them in the starting XI, there’s no way they can also play every week in the Premier League.
In a normal season, it would be difficult for a player to manage both competitions. This season, it’s near impossible. With the group fixtures so tightly packed around the congested Premier League schedule – thanks to the winter World Cup – there would be no time to rest.
In many positions, Arsenal have strong options competing for starts anyway. Takehiro Tomiyasu and Ben White could easily swap back and forth at right-back, Kieran Tierney and Oleksandr Zinchenko at left-back, Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah up front.
Name either option in those positions and it would be a disservice to whichever player is starting to describe the team as significantly weakened.
But in other areas, there are more obvious first-choice starters, such as Bukayo Saka at right wing. That’s where Arteta and his team need to be careful.