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Why Arsenal have no excuse after securing manageable route to final - Europa League 2020-21

Arsenal need to beat Slavia Prague to reach the Europa League semi-final.
Arsenal need to beat Slavia Prague to reach the Europa League semi-final.
ANALYST
Modified 20 Mar 2021
Feature

Arsenal’s chances of winning the 2020-21 Europa League brightened after drawing Slavia Prague in the quarter-final draw on Friday. The Gunners have been one of the consistent sides in this season’s competition, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.

After dominating their group, Mikel Arteta’s side have continued their fine form in the knockout stages, where they eliminated Benfica and Olympiacos to reach the quarter-finals.

There is a lot at stake for Arsenal in this season’s Europa League, as they are currently not doing well in the Premier League.

Perched in a lowly tenth place in the league table, the Gunners are at serious risk of missing out of the Champions League next season. That leaves the Europa League as their only option to qualify for European club football's blue riband competition next campaign.

Arsenal have a manageable route to the final

Friday’s Europa League draw was very favourable to Arsenal, as the Gunners now have a very manageable route to go all the way in the competition. However, the biggest threat Arsenal's title hopes could come from their Premier League rivals Manchester United.

Arsenal have managed to avoid the Red Devils for now and cannot face them before the final.

Meanwhile, a draw against Slavia Prague in the quarter-finals shouldn’t be beyond the Gunners. However, the Czech Republic side have proven to be giant slayers, having already knocked out Leicester City and Rangers from the competition, something Arsenal would need to be wary of.

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Should the Gunners manage to overcome Slavia Prague, a clash against either Villarreal or Dinamo Zagreb will await them in the semi-final.

Arsenal have little excuse for failure

Mikel Arteta's Arsenal have been handed a very favourable draw in the 2020-21 Europa League. The Gunners have never won any major European trophy, so this might just be the opportunity for Arsenal to exorcise those demons.

The upcoming fixtures in the competition may seem winnable, but Arsenal cannot afford to underestimate their opponents or be complacent. There are lessons to be learned from Dinamo Zagreb’s elimination of Tottenham Hotspur despite Spurs winning the first leg 2-0 at home.

Arteta has already warned his side to take lessons from Spurs' humiliating exit, saying that no opposition can be taken for granted. He said in this regard:

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“It shows the level of the opposition,” the Spaniard said following Arsenal’s qualification to the Europa League quarter-finals, as quoted by Metro. People take for granted that you play against any opponent and you’re going to be through because of the name of the club they represent. It’s not like that.”

Nevertheless, Arsenal have a golden opportunity to make a second European final in three years. If they do not self-destruct, they could certainly go all the way in this season's Europa League.

Published 20 Mar 2021, 14:08 IST
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