Last summer, Spanish coach Unai Emery took on one of the toughest jobs in the Premier League when he became Arsenal head coach. Emery took over from a legend in Arsene Wenger.
The Frenchman’s last few years did not go the way anybody wanted them to. However, he was still a legend, who left behind a squad that was not exactly stellar.
Emery has done a decent job at Arsenal, but he is not a miracle worker. On Thursday night, though, the Spaniard saw his side book their place in the Europa League final by winning 4-2 at his former club Valencia, to win their semi-final 7-3 on aggregate.
The Gunners will face London rivals Chelsea on 29th May in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku. Arsenal are currently underdogs at odds of 21/10 to lift the trophy.
Winning the Europa League would be massive
Arsenal winning the Europa League this season would be massive. The Gunners look set to miss out on a top-four spot this season, with just one Premier League game of the season remaining.
The Europa League offers the Gunners a route into Europe’s elite competition for next season, though. The team from north London made it to the semi-finals of the Europa League last season, only to suffer defeat at the hands of eventually competition winners Atletico Madrid.
Winning the competition would also mean that they have won a European trophy for only the second time in their long history. It would also confirm this season as a successful one for new boss Emery.
Need a squad overhaul
The Arsenal squad needs a major overhaul. However, the Gunners hierarchy look set to give boss Emery another small transfer kitty to work with this summer. Qualifying for the Champions League via winning the Europa League would mean a big increase in revenue.
An increase in revenue would no doubt mean an increase in the amount of money in the club’s transfer coffers this summer. With so many players futures in doubt at the club and a need to strengthening in a number of positions, the Gunners need all the money they can get to build a stronger squad for next season.
Emery can only do so much with coaching skills. The transfer budget he had last summer was chump change to the teams they are attempting to compete with in the Premier League. To overthrow some of their rivals in top six, the club from north London needs to spend some real cash this summer.
Chelsea are not unbeatable
Arsenal will believe they have a real chance of lifting the Europa League against Chelsea. The Gunners do not have a bad record against the Blues. In fact, the team from north London have lost just one of their last seven meetings with the team from south west London in all competitions.
Arsenal beat their London rivals in the League Cup semi-finals last season and the FA Cup final in 2017. When it matters it seems that the Arsenal players raise their games against the Blues.
Chelsea have not exactly enjoyed a stellar debut campaign under Maurizio Sarri. However, winning the Europa League and finishing third place in the Premier League is nothing a terrible campaign for the Blues by any means.
The final promises to be a fascinating clash between the London teams. However, I get the feeling that the win would mean a lot more to the Gunners than it would the Blues.
Who will win the Europa League this season?
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