The Europa League, European football’s second tier. A joke amongst many fans of those whose clubs are not participating in the tournament, yet it could prove to be the most vital piece of silverware for either Arsenal or Chelsea if they find their way to victory.
Both sides are going through periods of transition, with Unai Emery still clearing out some of the dust left behind by Arsene Wenger’s twenty-two year reign, while Maurizio Sarri continues his attempts to simply control his dressing room and implement his style of play in the Chelsea players’ heads.
Neither of these teams look certain, or particularly likely, to finish in the top four of the Premier League come May, as Manchester United’s unbeaten run in domestic competition appears to be everlasting, whereas the pair in 5th and 6th position endure surprising defeats and missed opportunities.
So, who needs the Europa League trophy more? Would it be more beneficial to The Gunners, whose last final in European competition came in 2006, or the Blues, a team apparently ravaged by individuals aiming for personal glory rather than the teams success?