The progress of our rivals makes winning the Europa League even more important

The nightmare of the last six weeks got even worse yesterday as Sp*rs beat Ajax in the Champions League semi-final. They will now face Liverpool for club football’s elite prize. With the progress of Man City, Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea and Manchester United’s inevitable strong response to their fiasco, failure to win the Europa League could catapult us even further away from challenging for top honours. It would not be an overstatement to say tonight’s game against Valencia is the biggest game in our recent history. As we have seen with teams like AC Milan, Inter Milan and Valencia the longer you go without Champions League football, the more mediocre you become. Unai Emery messed up our league run-in, but he must find a way to get this job done.

Blogging has been so difficult over the past few weeks I haven’t done it! April’s demise sent me through a range of emotions including rage, worry, apathy and ambivalence, particularly regarding the suitability of Unai Emery to manage this club. We are a club with many problems that prevent us from challenging for major titles, however the current crop of players were good enough to take more than four points from 18 which would have guaranteed Champions League football next season. Maybe it was overconfidence, but I was certain we had enough to get top four this season. With two elite strikers and an excellent home record, I genuinely believed we would do it. Expectation truly is the root of all heartache

Yes we need better players, but the manager must be the catalyst for change.

As I have said before, Emery deserves support and time, but the manner of our collapse has knocked my confidence in him. I understand he needs the support of a well-run system and owners with ambition like at Manchester City and Liverpool, but managers have to be the catalyst for progress. Whether you are a manager or a head coach, it’s up to you to fill the fans and players with confidence, be a draw for transfer targets and to fill rivals with fear. Emery had set us up brilliantly with admirable management considering the injuries we have suffered, but ruined it all in six games. Luckily, his first-rate navigation of the Europa League has given him and Arsenal Football Club a lifeline. If he takes it then he’ll prove he can be the catalyst we need and the Arsenal executive will have no excuse but to support him with the transformation needed to keep pace with our rivals.

Now I’m not making excuses for KSE or the Arsenal executive, but we have spent a lot of money on mediocrity so i understand the hesitance in releasing funds. We have the wage bill of a top Champions League side and we can’t even secure top four. If I was the owner I would want the manager and the people appointed to run the club to show me they could be trusted with more funds. Winning the Europa League should cement that trust. We may not be good enough to challenge for the league, but we are good enough to win the Europa League.

Our rivals our moving forward with gusto and now we must do the same. Two more wins in the Europa and the pain of the last six weeks will be wiped from history.

Come on Arsenal!