Arsene Wenger has hinted that he’ll view the Europa League as a chance to rotate his squad, as his priority will be closing the gap on Chelsea in the Premier League.
The Gunners will have to cope with Europe’s second competition for the first time in over 20 years, having finished 5th last season, and it seems the manager is looking at it as a way to use his squad to its fullest.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s Community Shield with Chelsea, he said, “In the Europa League, if we can afford sometimes to rest some players, we will do it. But we have to adapt to the level of the competition and see, first, what kind of group we play in.”
Having already said that a season without Champions League football was ‘a good opportunity to focus completely on the Premier League’, he also spoke about how winning the Europa League could give you a passage into that competition the following season.
“You cannot go into the season and think that,” he said.
“I was always not in favour of that, because I think at some stage it can influence the championship, because if a team is in April in a position where they have more chance to win the Europa League they can let some games go in the championship, and not completely focus on that.”
If nothing else, it’s going to be different. The draw for the group stages is made later this month.