Last weekend struck a killer blow to Arsenal’s top four hopes.
First, Arsene Wenger’s side lost to Spurs, then Liverpool won 2-0, and Chelsea won 3-0.
Now, Thierry Henry thinks it’s time for the club to prioritise trying to win the Europa League.
“What they can achieve the most I think is winning the Europa League,” Henry told Sky Sports.
“I see that more happening than them finishing in the top four. Something incredible might happen but it’s unlikely for it to happen.
“So are you going to completely focus on the Europa League and let the league go? I don’t think you can do that. But you should go really strong in trying to win the Europa League. At the end of the day that brings you back in the Champions League and it is a trophy.”
Part of the reason Arsenal are in such a tricky situation, as mentioned, was Chelsea’s win on Monday night.
Hazard scored a brace as the home side breezed past West Bromwich Albion. Afterwards, the Belgian said Henry gave him advice to shoot a bit more.
“On the second goal when I go inside of the pitch Thierry told me in the national team maybe I do not shoot enough,” he explained. “We saw against Watford that I score when I shoot so it comes down to instinct. You don’t think about a lot you just think about scoring goals.”
Whatever the reason for Hazard and Chelsea’s success, Arsenal are now eight points behind the top four. With only 11 games left, that gap is really starting to look insurmountable.
Henry is right, Wenger needs to go strong in the Europa League now.
Against Östersunds FK on Thursday, the manager really has no reason not to do so. Arsenal don’t have a match at the weekend, so they have close to a week’s rest either side of the away game.
For the home leg, it’s a different story.
Just a couple of days after that match, the team head to Wembley for the League Cup final.
That’s the one game Arsenal might still want to prioritise over Europa League, since winning it immediately gives you a trophy.
Best to get the tie wrapped up in Sweden, then.