Will Arsenal and Chelsea Prioritise the Top Four or the Europa League?
Both Arsenal and Chelsea are in the hunt for a top four spot in the Premier league right now, although they are both currently on the outside looking in. Arsenal are in 5th position, just one point behind Manchester United in 4th. Chelsea are a further place back and two points off United, but crucially for them, they have a game in hand and if they win that they will leapfrog over both Arsenal and Manchester United to take 4th.
However, that cannot be their only focus right now, as they are both still in the Europa League at the last 16 stage. Not reaching the top four would be disappointing, but a trophy from the Europa League would make up for that, and leave the fans feeling relatively happy about how the season has gone. That leaves the question, do they go all in for the Premier League, do they prioritise the Europa League, or do they try to juggle both and risk burning players out with it being so late in the season?
My guess is they try to do the latter, looking at each week and working out where it is best to try and get some rest into players. That is a very dangerous game, and could leave them with tired players, but getting to this stage of the Europa League is too close to just disregard it and play weakened teams. A European trophy would be massive for both clubs, and I expect both of them to do all they can to win it, without hurting their Premier League chances too much.
The pair begin their Europa League last 16 ties tonight, with Chelsea looking as though they have the easier task on paper. The Blues are at home to Dynamo Kiev and they are priced up at 27/100 to win tonight's game at Stamford Bridge. Arsenal go away and travel to Rennes, where they are priced up at 19/20 to win in France and take control of their tie.