There’s no point in pretending like there isn’t an element of disappointment for some teams who end up competing in the Europa League. The competition itself, on a year to year basis is, of course, full to the brim with high quality and hungry teams that are capable of doing some great things against some of Europe’s most elite clubs.
With that being said, the end goal is always going to be qualifying for the Champions League for most teams around Europe – which is why the final four clubs involved in the UEL this year are going to give it everything they’ve got. Chelsea, Arsenal, Eintracht Frankfurt and Valencia will all be battling it out for the right to travel to Baku for the final, with both semi-finals being equally as intriguing.
Make the statement
From the perspective of an English football fan, though, the biggest headline of them all is the possibility of an all-English final between two of the Premier League’s finest. Both the Blues and the Gunners have had rollercoaster seasons both in Europe and in their domestic campaigns, and both can still qualify for the UCL through either the Europa League or their own position in the Premier League.
As we all know it’s somewhat foolish to write off the chances of your opponent before any given game of football, but even with that being the case, it’s hard not to let your mind drift off and consider what would happen if Chelsea and Arsenal did indeed meet in the final. First off, the security would have to be pretty tight in order to ensure that there’s no trouble.
Secondly, it would be huge for the English game. There’s been a lot of chatter in the last few years about how the quality of football in England is diminishing, but when you pair this potential match-up together with the Three Lions’ World Cup performance and the UCL semi-final appearances of Liverpool and Tottenham, things seem as if they’re starting to look up.
Frankfurt and Valencia will certainly have something to say about all of this, though, and we’re fascinated to see what kind of encounters we get tomorrow night. It’s all about setting the tempo in the first leg and establishing your dominance, as we all know, but that isn’t going to be enough to prevent even the most simple of mistakes on a stage like this.
Will logic prevail?
Logic suggests that Chelsea are going to be more comfortable in this scenario and that they will also probably be favoured amongst the bookmakers as eventual winners, but even with that being the case, you should always prepare for the unexpected.
The Battle of London in Baku has a bizarre yet intriguing ring to it, and given how unlikely a Liverpool or Tottenham appearance in the Champions League final seems, the pressure is kind of on Chelsea and Arsenal to get to the final game of the season.
Alas, as we’ve said, one way or another we should be in for a fun few weeks.