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Friday, January 27, 2023

Arsenal FC Must Forget The Europa League, They May Never Get A Better Chance To Win The Title

A sort of

arsenalA late win over Manchester United felt like a title moment, a victory that silenced doubters, calmed nerves and flooded Mikel ArtetaA squad with faith.

Arsenal are five points clear of Manchester City with a game in hand and could theoretically still lose twice to the champions, who face home and away in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Friday and in the league at the end of April. Champion and stay on top.

Quite frankly, Arsenal look unlikely to lose twice to anyone, even a club that knocked out soon-to-be European champions Liverpool from a similar position in 2019/20 and won the title last week against Tott Nam seem to be encouraged by the Tottenham game.

Given the amount of fixtures already played and the sheer volume of football this season, it’s easy to forget that Arsenal’s Premier League run is only halfway through.

Crazy celebrations after beating Manchester United.

/ Arsenal FC via Getty Images

With a long way to go and potential potholes everywhere, the biggest danger facing Mikel Arteta must be that his squad is too spread out.

As well as facing Manchester City in the FA Cup on Friday, Arsenal have reinstated their european league Round of 16 in March. With victory at the Etihad Stadium, the Gunners will be favorites for a 15th FA Cup title – ahead of Manchester United, Chelsea and Newcastle already out, while Tottenham and Liverpool struggle.

The Europa League is also promising. English clubs have always excelled in games when they really cared, with Chelsea (twice), Liverpool, Manchester United (twice), Arsenal and even Rangers all reaching finals in the past decade.

Arteta’s well-tuned Arsenal team is better than all of the above, and they will be the shortest odds of all remaining clubs to reach the last 16 and go to Budapest on May 31.

The question for Arteta is whether he believes Arsenal have the depth to compete on two or even three fronts in the second half of one of the toughest seasons in history. There are stark contrasts between Arsenal and Leicester’s title-winning side in 2015/16, both in their vast improvement over the previous season and in the way they have benefited from the stuttering of other contenders .

Arsenal lack depth: From Saliba to Holding, Elneny can’t replicate Partey’s impact, while Vieira hasn’t convinced as Odegaard’s back-up

Manchester City (so far) have had an off-season, Manchester United and Newcastle are promising but continuing to rebuild, while Liverpool and Chelsea are both in transition.

Arsenal are better than Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester, but the Foxes’ one big advantage seven years ago was their lack of European football.

The Gunners don’t have that luxury, and when the Europa League resumes in the spring, this game will test Arteta’s squad to the limit, assuming Arsenal remain strong in the Premier League. While all four Champions League clubs struggled with the intensity of their fixtures in the first half of the season, Arteta was able to make a difference with Arsenal’s performance in the Europa League group and he hardly needed to rotate his ten-man squad. one person. Seven Arsenal players have started all 19 Premier League games.

Admittedly, when they lose players, others have stepped up. Eddie Nketiah, who scored twice against Manchester United, including an injury-time winner, represented Gabriel Jesus brilliantly, with the Brazilian’s work rate and Goals match. Kieran Tierney was brilliant as a substitute for Oleksandar Zinchenko. However, the backbone of Arteta’s team is weak. They added cover in Jakub Kiviol’s centre-back position, but the drop in quality was evident from Gabriel and William Saliba to the young Poland international and Rob Holding.

The same goes for midfield, with Mohamed Elneny unable to replicate the impact of Thomas Partey and summer signing Fabio Vieira yet to convince as a replacement for Martin Odegaard. Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale will also be out for a long time to lose.

Playing his big guns in Europe risks injury or burnout, which could be costly for the run-in and will test the mentality of Arteta’s young squad.

There are other chances to win the FA Cup and winning the Europa League, while a major achievement, is rarely particularly memorable for England’s top clubs. It’s the kind of competition Arsenal hope to avoid for the foreseeable future.

Still, in an era with Manchester City, Liverpool and others, winning the Premier League would be a remarkable achievement, especially given Arsenal’s origins.

Given the fierce competition in the top flight, they may not have a better chance of winning the historic crown for many years.

Arteta may argue that his rebuild has not yet peaked, with Arsenal now poised to be long-term challengers, but their return to the Champions League next season could be more difficult – with Manchester United continuing to rebuild and Liverpool, Chelsea and possibly Spurs are also likely to improve.

Unlike Arsene Wenger, Arteta will never let his children play any games, the 40-year-old will be careful to think that winning is a habit and wasting momentum in any game is dangerous.

However, it is clear that Arsenal should put the league first, ensuring they capitalize on their strengths despite the potential weaknesses of their squad.

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