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Arsenal Back In The Europa League Next Season

Arsenal’s hopes of returning to the Champions League via a top-four finish have ended after they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Brighton on Sunday.

The Gunners trail bitter rivals Tottenham by three points, but with only one game to play they have a goal difference which is inferior by eight.

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang gave Unai Emery’s side the lead with an early penalty but Glenn Murray levelled from the spot in the second half.

The draw means that Unai Emery’s side have only taken only one point from their last four games. It is clear that Emery has decided that the Gunners were more likely to qualify for the Champions League next season by winning the Europa League than finishing in the top four. Jose Mourinho made a similar gamble at Manchester United two seasons ago and got it right. It is still be seem whether Emery’s gamble will pay off in a similar fashion.

Arsenal are in pole position to reach the Europa League final after beating Valencia 3-1 at the Emirates on Thursday night, and Emery urged his players to forget about the disappointment of missing out on a top-four finish ahead of Thursday’s crucial clash in Valencia.

‘I think they will switch off (from the disappointment). We are going to be strong in our mentality to prepare the best possible match on Thursday.

‘The Premier League is our first target and we didn’t get the position we wanted, we couldn’t be in the top four.

‘But we play on Thursday in the second leg and this is a title to play for and a way to go to the Champions League.’

A two goal lead heading into the second leg would normally be enough to get you into the finals, but with the Gunners dreadful away form, Arsenal fan are undoubtably nervous ahead of this weeks trip to Spain.