With Arsenal all but confirmed of their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League, the fact they will most likely avoid the third-place qualification in the Europa League will come as a huge relief to Arsene Wenger.
Had Arsenal failed to beat Marseille 2-0 on Tuesday night, they would have been on the verge of being knocked out the Champions League. Instead, it now means that barring a three-goal loss in Napoli, they will at least be second place. The sense of achievement will probably hide it, but the relief for a lot of Arsenal fans will be huge. A Europa League campaign for a side fighting for the Premier League title is disastrous.
You only need to look at Swansea, who are struggling this season domestically with a Europa League campaign to juggle with. Newcastle were on the verge of relegation last season, and it was evident that playing those Thursday nights in Europe’s lower standard of competition had an effect.
It would almost certainly hinder Arsenal’s title hopes this season, especially given the fact they are light in certain positions such as with strikers. It would be a distraction that had no real desire attached to it.
The Champions League is also a distraction, but the fact it has such a glory attached to it can push on contending squads towards the end of the season. The momentum that the likes of Manchester United have created when competing in it has been beneficial, and it could well be the case for Arsenal this season.