Suffice it to say that most football clubs will like to take some of the competitions with levity while treating the others with much concern. However, there are some teams that shouldn’t be in that league. Arsenal FC has a lot of trophies in their cabinet. But the ones that have eluded them for a very long time are those that have European colouration. While all the teams that were with Arsenal on the traditional big four have all tasted European football glories, Arsenal has put up more abysmal performances in the competitions.
Now, if the UEFA Champions league was elusive and too big for them for all the years they have participated in it, we can understand it. They have been sent to a much more realizable European trophy in the Europa League, and the best thing to do is to take it seriously. Arsene Wenger has come up with a list of 42 players for the competition. Just as he always does, there are many young and unknown players in the list, and they are expected to battle for positions against the established names. Now, one undeniable fact is that Wenger is unapologetic in using teenagers in very serious competitions. Because of that, we will not go ahead to advise him to take the competition serious to the extent that the likes of Ozil, Sanchez, and Mertesacker will play every game. But amidst the other frail names in the list, there are some he can try to get the best from if he ever wishes to put up a real fight in the Europa league and not just take it as soccer bet.
When you’re a nephew to Austin Jay Jay Okocha, you will face many expectations. But that is not the reason Iwobi ticks all the boxes. He does because he is good.
While he is also getting enough time at the mainstream games, he is expected to be dominant in Europa. While he does not have the experience of the big guns, he has the potential to use this competition to showcase him more and gain the experience he needs at the top level. The pressure on this league is a bit lower, and that will give him the freedom to roam about and cause damage, as he always does when he is relaxed. With Sanchez and Ozil likely not to feature much at the early stages, Iwobi could lead the charge.
He has experienced mixed fortunes at the Gunners, to the extent he was sent on loan last term, and also wanted to go on loan this term. But since he has stayed, this could be the chance for him to make a stake. He only needs to stay fit, injury free and to give his best when called upon, and he could be the catalyst that takes arsenal far in the competition. He will be very eager to impress, and the chance should be given to him. This could also be that competition that will make Arsenal keep him.
One very conspicuous lad among the youngsters whose names are on the list is Nelson. He is a very exciting prospect at the Emirates. He gave a good account of himself during the pre-season. Since then, no one has seen much of him. But this could be that relaxed competition where he is allowed to impress without much pressure. The quality shown by the 17-year-old merits him a trial on the big stage and Arsene Wenger should give that to him if Arsenal are to witness some magic.