Unai Emery told to focus on winning Europa League with Arsenal

Paul Merson tells Arsenal they should try and focus on winning the Europa League this season

By George Hallam
Unai Emery
New Arsenal head coach Unai Emery Photo: Screengrab

Paul Merson has told Arsenal FC they should attempt to win the Europa League this season after Unai Emery’s previous success in the competition.

Winning the Europa League could be the only way Arsenal FC could find themselves back in the Champions League next season, as the winners automatically enter the group stage.

Merson played in the final last time the Gunners tasted European glory and has urged them to aim for the Europa League this season.

“I think they’ll go for the Europa League too,” he told talkSPORT.

“I think this manager likes it, foreign managers like this competition and why not?

“Arsenal haven’t won a European trophy since 1994 [And Merson played in that game – a 1-0 win over Parma in the Cup Winners Cup final].

“They’re not going to win the Premier League, so why not have a go at it?”

The Europa League is seen by many as a hindrance until its latter stages, but as Jose Mourinho showed in 2017 with Manchester United, winning it brings glory and spoils which are exclusive to it.

The winners of the competition automatically enter the group stage of the following seasons Champions League since a rule change at the beginning of the 2014/15 season.

Emery has seen the fruits of winning the competition as he won the title with former club Sevilla in 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16, and became the first manager to qualify for the Champions League this way.

His three Europa League’s in three years is perhaps the most underrated managerial achievement of his generation, and Arsenal FC fans will hope that he is able to emulate these successes in his quest to restore the Gunners to their former glory.

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