It is fair to say that Arsenal’s meeting with Chelsea in the Europa League Final on Wednesday could be a pivotal moment for the club.
Unai Emery’s first season as manager has been steady rather than spectacular, but a victory over the Blues would provide the perfect platform for the Gunners to kick-on under his stewardship.
Emery arrived at the Emirates Stadium with a reputation as a Europa League specialist, having won the competition three times in a row with Sevilla from 2014 to 2016.
Arsenal set out in this year’s Europa League in impressive fashion, picking up 16 points out of a possible 18 in the group stage.
They recovered from first leg deficits to see off BATE Borisov and Rennes during the first two knockout rounds, before stylishly disposing of Napoli and Valencia to reach the final.
Those last two performances were a testament to Emery’s ability to inspire his players in Europe and many fans will be eager to use the Unibet bonus code to back his side to lift the trophy in Baku.
Beating Chelsea would be a major boost to Emery as bids to move the club forward over the next few years.
Arsenal can ill-afford another season out of the Champions League as they strive to force their back into the upper echelons of European football.
The Gunners have fallen a long way behind the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool on the home front, but securing a spot in Europe’s top club competition would give them the perfect base to start closing the gap.
The likes of Nicolas Pepe and Youri Tielemans are amongst the players linked with Arsenal this summer and their chances of signing them would be boosted if they can offer Champions League football next term.
On a personal level, Emery’s own reputation would be enhanced if he can guide Arsenal to their first European trophy since 1994.
His first Arsenal campaign would then be regarded as a success, justifying the club’s decision to appoint him as Arsene Wenger’s replacement.
The club had stagnated under Wenger, but Emery’s arrival at the Emirates had fans dreaming of a brighter future.
His progressive style of play has been well received, although it is clear that he still has plenty of work to do on a squad that is sorely lacking quality in certain areas.
However, Arsenal’s strongest starting XI is more than capable of beating Chelsea in the final and a Europa League victory would be the perfect way to cap Emery’s first season in charge.