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By Tony Attwood
Of course it is not over until the final whistle of the last game, but it would be extraordinary if Tottenham really could do something as dramatic as repeat their end of season performance of May 2016 when they managed to lose their last match 5-1 when a point would have allowed them to end up higher than Arsenal in the league for the first time in centuries (well, at least for quite a long time – most of the Wengerian reign in fact).
But the turn of events that would take Arsenal into the Champions League seems rather unlikely, and we can expect to be in the Europa next season.
That of course is being talked of by the BBC and others as a huge failure, and yet it is progress of course – since we will be back in Europe.
But also I heard one commentator on Sky saying that Arsenal will not welcome the extra games the Europa League brings, with their very young squad. In saying that they were forgetting (or more likely not even realising) that it is only a couple of games more in the Europa, and many of the early games allow the club to give younger players an outing, which is valuable in itself. In the Champs League we would have to play the first team in every match.
Indeed Arsenal’s run in the group stages the last time we were in the competition was great fun to watch – at least for those of us who bothered to show up… and reminds us of the experience it gave to players not being picked for PL matches week on week.
|22 Oct 2020||Rapid Wien v Arsenal||W||1-2|
|29 Oct 2020||Arsenal v Dundalk||W||3-0|
|05 Nov 2020||Arsenal v Molde||W||4-1|
|26 Nov 2020||Molde v Arsenal||W||0-3|
|03 Dec 2020||Arsenal v Rapid Wien||W||4-1|
|10 Dec 2020||Dundalk v Arsenal||W||2-4|
I believe I am right in remembering that we were the first-ever team to win all six group matches, and it enabled our younger players plus our reserve players to get games or substitute appearances.
Of course, I am not saying I prefer the Europa to the Champions League; but I’ll certainly renew my season ticket, and go to the Europa games, despite the 180-mile round trip that each home match involves. And I will look forward to seeing some more of the youngsters coming through.
Perhaps one could also add that had we got into the Champions League (as I and everyone else hoped) the chances of making the final with this very young squad were small indeed, whereas with the Europa it is possible.
And yes I do remember what happened last time we made the final, although it is also interesting to reflect on what has happened to Chelsea since.
According to the Telegraph Roman Abramovich has been accused by the government of “refusing a new sale structure which blocks any risk of proceeds being claimed by his children.” They also say that talks have broken down over the issue of the £1.6billion loan which Abramovich has made to the club, part of the numerous advantages Chelsea have had, and which the inept Premier League has allowed or even encouraged them to have.
“There’s quite serious concern in Government that the deal may fall apart and that Roman Abramovich is ultimately willing to let Chelsea go under,” the report announces one “senior Government source” has told the Telegraph. The source also said, “The ridiculousness of this scenario is that Chelsea are saying to us they don’t know who owns Camberley International and [they] can’t talk to them. We cannot contact Camberley International to talk about this…
“In the structure they’re proposing, there’s a danger that it’s sanctions busting. It also opens up the ability that, in future as a creditor, Abramovich or whoever owned Camberley could make a claim on it.”
People around Abramovich deny all this. Abramovich himself appears to be not making an appearance.
At the same time the assets of Abramovich which are in banks in the Channel Island of Jersey (a tax haven under the protection of the crown but not part of the UK), have been frozen. The group wanting to buy Chelsea insist that the issues are for the government not for them.
But the government leaker talking to the Telegraph, is reported by the paper to have said, “There are deadlines at the end of this month and the start of June which would either see the club booted out of European competition or the Football League entirely. But given that everything needs to be done, a good chunk of the sale needs to be done this week or next.”
All of which makes Arsenal’s difficulties with re-entering the Champions League look rather trivial.
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