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3 reasons why Arsenal crashing out of Europe might be a blessing in disguise | Premier League 2019-20

  • Will this be a turning point for Arsenal or is their season over already?
Harsh Pillai
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 01 Mar 2020, 17:47 IST

Arsenal FC v Olympiacos FC - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: Second Leg
Arsenal FC v Olympiacos FC - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: Second Leg

Arsenal's Europa League campaign has officially come to an end at the hands of Olympiacos as the Gunners fell prey to a 2-1 defeat at the Emirates.

In a game full of mistakes, the Gunners' lacklustre performance was punished by Abou Cisse, who scored the first goal of the night from a free header in the second half. David Luiz's incompetency to close him down resulted in the Premier League giants taking the first blow. Meanwhile, Olympiacos had a clear mindset: defend deep, hit on counter and try to take the game to penalties.

Unfortunately for Arsenal, the penalty shootout never arrived as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's brilliant equaliser in the 113th minute was not the last goal of the encounter. The Gunners defenders failed to deal with a cross put in by Giorgos Masouras in the 119th minute of the game and Youssef El-Arabi scored Olympiacos' second goal of the game to take his team into the Round of 16 of the competition.

While getting knocked out of a European competition is far from ideal, the defeat to Olympiacos probably came at the right time for Arsenal and this could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the North London outfit.

In this article, we discuss three reasons why crashing out of the Europa League might be a good thing for Arsenal.

Also Read: Arsenal 1-2 Olympiacos (2-2): 3 Talking Points as Gunners crash out of Europe


#3 Reduced foreign travels during the season

Arsenal FC v Olympiacos FC - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: Second Leg
Arsenal FC v Olympiacos FC - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: Second Leg

To put it into perspective, if Arsenal hypothetically managed to reach the final of the competition, this would mean they would have played 7 extra games. The Gunners have now successfully escaped nearly seven games from their schedule, out of which at least three would have been to foreign lands.

Even though winning the Europa League was the best way for Arsenal to get back into the Champions League, now that they're knocked out, the fans and players need to look for positives and move on from the defeat.

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There will be no more games away from England for the Gunners this term and this could prove to be a huge catalyst for improvement as Mikel Arteta and his team try to mount a serious assault for a top-four finish. With players like Kieran Tierney, Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari coming back, the London giants will have the upper hand over the likes of Manchester United, Wolves, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur if these teams are to go the distance in the Europa League and Champions League, respectively.

The fact that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Shkodran Mustafi, Bukayo Saka, David Luiz, and Granit Xhaka have played four games in the last 12 days could just be the reason why they could not cope up with Olympiacos on Thursday. While Mustafi suffered a thigh injury in the 108th minute, Aubameyang hinted that he suffered cramps during the game.

"I don't know how I missed this chance. I was tired and I had some cramps as well but it's not an excuse, I have to score this goal." Aubameyang told BT Sport minutes after the final whistle.

Fatigue clearly caught up with the players and Arteta's decision to bench Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira, Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who were in peak physical condition, did not pay off.

Basically, it is a great advantage to have when you're playing as much as seven lesser games than your rivals. It improves your chances of outperforming them massively, as your players are less likely to tire and get injuries, whilst having more recovery time in case they do get injured.

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Published 01 Mar 2020, 17:47 IST
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