When it comes to Europe, Arsenal haven’t been the luckiest team, to say the least. The last time the Gunners lifted any European silverware was back in the days of the European Cup Winners’ Cup, in 1994.
They’ve been consistent in so far as they regularly qualify for European competition, however: they’ve qualified for 19 successive Champions League tournaments between 1998/99 and 2017/2018. It’s an English club record.
The closest they’ve truly come to laying their hands on a trophy in recent times has been in the Europa League final against Chelsea, but their London rivals were dominant on the night and stormed home to a 4–1 victory.
That was last season, though. Could this be the one that Arsenal bring the Europa League trophy to the Emirates Stadium?
Recovering from the 2018/19 final
The defeat at the hands of Chelsea at the Baku Olympic Stadium, in Baku, Azerbaijan, was a hard one to swallow. The team will be especially sick of the sight of Eden Hazard, who stuck two in the back of the net for the Blues that night, making it a miserable evening for Arsenal.
Now with a fresh season underway, the Gunners will be looking to put right the wrongs and produce some silverware for their fans. They have the strength and the experience to go all the way in the Europa League. They know it. The fans know it.
The team have already qualified for the competition, thanks to their second place in last season’s final, but the road to the final won’t be easy. There are some tricky British contenders in the competition, including Scottish heavyweights Rangers and Celtic, who will also be hungry to decorate their trophy cabinets with a little something from Europe. A clash with either of these teams could be on the cards.
Action on the transfer market
The Gunners have been busy on the transfer market and will be looking to some of their summer signings to turn things around. Their biggest signing has been of Nicolas Pepe, from LOSC Lille, for £72 million. The winger has the potential to make things happen. Last season, he became the first Lille player to score more than 20 league goals in a season since Eden Hazard in 2011/12. He also registered 11 assists, which was the second best tally in the division. The player will be one to watch and if he’s in good form on match day, you might want to take advantage of some in play betting and wager on him scoring the next goal for the team.
The other big signing — and a surprise signing at that — has been of David Luiz. The club netted the centreback on deadline day from rivals Chelsea for £8 million. The Brazilian star signed for two years and will replace Laurent Koscielny, who made a controversial move to Bordeaux. Time will tell how well Luiz will fits into the team and whether he exercises an impact on its fortunes. He’s said to have had several bust-ups with chiefs at Chelsea.
Of course, transfer deadline day was exceptionally busy for the Gunners. Earlier the same day, the chase for Kieran Tierney came to a successful end. The team had made several unsuccessful bids to Celtic for the defender, who plays on the left, but that was the day they finally signed him. Tierney, who is a Scottish international, will add width to the team. He’s an attacking fullback and has demonstrated a crucial ability to pass from long range and build up play from the back.
Can Arsenal do it?
The club have got off to a respectable start in the Premier League so far, with a 1–0 away win at Newcastle and a 2–1 home win against Burnley. They suffered a disappointing 3–1 away defeat to Liverpool, who were in ruthless form, but the signs were there that this could still be Arsenal’s year. New signing Pepe made a real nuisance of himself to the Reds, embarrassing some of their players with his skilful dribbling and almost firing a shot past the keeper. The team’s £72 million investment is already looking like it might pay off. If he keeps going like this, then, with a stronger defence but also a reinforced attacking game, Gunners fans and the rest of the nation might just see the London club achieve Europa Cup glory this season.