Tonight we play Slavia Prague in what has become a massive tie for the club, manager and players. Quite simply, it’s our season and a big part of next season too. All of our eggs are in the Europa league cup now, seriously, ALL OF THEM!
We sit 10th in the PL with little or no prospect of getting European football through the league position, we are out of both domestic cups, so no way in through them either. We are playing in the last chance saloon with a piano that is very much out of tune. However you look at it, it’s a desperate situation for a club like Arsenal. Or should I say “for a club like Arsenal used to be”?
Winning the competition, very much a second rate competition, in itself is not that important, I mean seriously, it’s a competition for losers and second rate clubs, but it comes with qualification for the Champions League, and that’s a massive prize, far bigger than the trophy itself. The financial benefits of the Champions League are huge, and even if we get dumped out after the group stages, we might have the losers cup again to see us with something to play for come to the end of next season. The owners will be desperate for the cash windfall. Also fans will cling to the hope that with Champions League qualification the club will be in the transfer market for Champions League players.
On top of the cash bonus, people think that we will be able to attract better players because they want Champions League football. I believe they do, but I don’t think qualification through the Europa will do the trick. Players will look at our league position and conclude that future participation is a long shot.
That we find ourselves with all the eggs in this second rate basket is a worry, to say the least, but it’s where we are and we have to try to win it.
Fail to win this competition and we can safely say the season has been an unmitigated disaster. We started of as the 8th placed team and now we are 10th, the squad is ageing and we are depending on loan players to start games. What a mess.
Anyway, to the game itself.
Let’s be honest, we should be thinking Slavia Prague is a formality. Suddenly though, I’m reading blogs and tweets that tell us what a difficult opponent they are. Well they might be, but it’s not because they are good, it’s because we might be awful. Another Liverpool like performance and the Dog & Duck could be difficult opponents.
KT is out for 4-6 weeks, this is a disaster but not as big a disaster as us being so reliant on a left back that it becomes a disaster when he’s injured, again.
Also missing will be David Liuz, like him or not, that too is a big miss for us,
Good news however is that Xhaka, ESR and Saka should all be fit and Odegaard’s knock seems manageable.
Again, I have no idea who Arteta will pick and what our tactics, if any, will be. Well I hope for his sake he gets it right for a change, because failure might see him chased out of Dodge, if not now then when the fans return to the stadium.
I’m sorry that a game against Slavia Prague is such a massive event, but this is what it has come to.
#Wengerout they said!
Enjoy the game and stay safe. We might win at a canter and have a week of celebration?