Last Sunday, the curtain came down on the 2018/19 Premier League season for all 20 clubs.
Manchester City were crowned champions, one point clear of Liverpool, while we said goodbye to Huddersfield, Fulham and Cardiff as they were relegated to the Championship.
In fifth place came Arsenal, just a point behind their north London rivals, Spurs, and the coveted Champions League (CL) places. It was the second successive season The Gunners were outside the top-four having finished sixth a year ago as they said goodbye to club legend Arsene Wenger.
Wenger’s replacement at the Emirates Stadium was the former Sevilla and Paris Saint Germain boss, Unai Emery.
The Spanish coach gave Gunners fans plenty to sing about during his first season at the helm. One of the highlights was their 22-game unbeaten run in all competitions which stretched from late August until mid-December. The other was their Europa League (EL) run. And that tale hasn’t reached a conclusion yet.
The good news for Arsenal fans is that Emery is something of a master when it comes to the EL. At Sevilla, he led his team to three consecutive EL titles between 2014 and 2016.
Now he’s in another EL final with Arsenal in 2019. The Gunners will face fellow Londoners, Chelsea, in Baku on May 29th.
This EL title would have a far bigger payoff for Arsenal as it would give them safe passage back into the CL for next season. Chelsea have already secured their ticket by managing to finish third in the PL.
Arsenal will look to join Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs, in European football’s premier football competition. To do that, they need to overcome Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea and claim the EL trophy.
The teams shared one win apiece in the PL this season. Chelsea won 3-2 at Stamford Bridge back in August 2018 but Arsenal returned the favour with a 2-0 victory over The Blues at the Emirates Stadium in January 2019.
Chelsea won the EL once, in 2013, under Rafa Benitez. Arsenal won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, an early incarnation of the EL, back in 1970.
Emery will be hoping his EL expertise will be enough to see The Gunners over the line in Baku as he looks to crown his first season at Arsenal with a trophy.
Replacing Arsene Wenger after the Frenchman’s 22-year stint at the club was no mean feat in itself. A EL title along with the CL qualification that comes with it would do wonders for Emery’s reputation among many Arsenal fans who are still on the fence regarding his appointment last summer.