Call it keeping his team grounded or suppressing expectations, but Arsene Wenger is refusing to consider Arsenal favorites heading into its UEFA Europa League quarterfinal matchup against CSKA Moscow.
As the last Premier League club left in the competition, Arsenal are currently the favorites in England to take the title, but Wenger didn’t want his players to get ahead of themselves.
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“We don’t live in dreamland, we are in a quarter-final and we have to be very realistic and go step by step and give everything to go through in the quarter-final,” Wenger said
. “Then we’ll see.”
To say it’s been a tough season for Arsenal and its fans is an understatement.
The club are set to finish outside the top-four in the Premier League for the second consecutive season and the club has won just four Premier League games this calendar year (out of ten). Fans are staying away from the Emirates Stadium in droves to protest the current state of the club, which seems to be on the brink of crisis after every defeat.
Considering the context, perhaps this wasn’t the best time for Wenger to lower expectations on what has already been a disappointing season by Arsenal’s old standards. You can forgive fans for dreaming of silverware in Europe, something that has eluded Arsenal during its years in the European Cup and Europa League.
Arsenal faces CSKA Moscow on Thursday’s first leg at the Emirates Stadium, and we’ll see if Arsenal can get off to a great start like it did against AC Milan in the Round of 16.