The North London Derby still sounds fresh with the UEFA Europa League result from Germany inconsequential unless for banter and other non-first-team purposes. While it was Arsenal’s statement to those who desperately try to elevate Spurs above them and/or equates them to their North London neighbours, the Gunners must look beyond the local rivalry and forge ahead.
Yes, it was gleeful dishing out the “L”s to the unbelievers and the media – I enjoyed it, especially Arsenal’s response to a certain Daily Mail journo – but Arsenal 1-0 loss to FC Koln had a dent to their unbeaten Europa League campaign. It was just a loss but not everybody was happy with the display of the 2nd string Gunners.
We can bask in the positives of already qualifying for the knock out phase of the competition with 2 games to spare and confirmation of finishing top of the table despite losing. A vital positive will be keeping the first team fresh enough for the Premier League challenge.
As expected, Wenger is not using his first team – at least for now – for the Europa League but the second team have secured qualification to the next stage. Expect the likes of Sanchez and Ozil to be introduced in the latter stages of the competition, if they remain after January.
While we are so sure North London is red, we should look beyond Spurs and paint the League and Europe red. With the Premier League almost away to Manchester City, the chase for Top Four is more intense than ever. Even Burnley can dear to dream. They are currently 7th but are on the same points with Arsenal and Liverpool in 6th and 5th respectively.
If Arsenal cannot beat Burnley at Turf Moor, then we can kiss the Premier League and maybe Top Four goodbye with the Europa League the sole hope to the return to the big stage – the UEFA Champions League. Expect to see goals again with front trio of Lacazette, Ozil and Sanchez having a hand in all the goals.
There is the little matter of the Carabao Cup. Can we take this cup serious for once? Will Eddie reign? The FA Cup is still about a month away. Three cups up for grabs. We have have the Europa League and any of the Carabao and FA Cups to end the season on a good note, irrespective of where we finish in the League.
Time to paint other things red. Let us continue with the trip to Turf Moor before the midweek visit of Huddersfield and Saturday’s visit of the Red Devils. Fancy another win over Mourinho?