Due to the fact that the winners of the Europa League are rewarded with qualification for the Champions League the following season, many teams have prioritised the Europa League over their domestic form to qualify for the competition. This was the case when Manchester United won the Europa League in 2017 after beating Ajax in Stockholm, as after finishing in 6th place, winning the Europa League provided United with Champions League qualification for the 17/18 season.
With Arsenal finishing in 5th place last season, their Europa League final clash against London rivals Chelsea was their second chance to qualify for the Champions League, and considering that Chelsea had already qualified it was thought that they wouldn’t take the game as seriously as Arsenal would. However, after losing 4-1, Arsenal missed out on their opportunity and confirmed that they would spend their third consecutive season in the Europa League.
Looking at both Manchester United and Arsenal’s start to the season, it looks like they both may struggle to finish in the top 4, so it would be wise for both Unai Emery and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to treat the Europa League win importance and keep their options open incase they fall behind the pace of the top 4.