Fail to beat Chelsea in tomorrow’s FA Cup final and miss out on competing in Europe for the first time in 25 years.
That’s the reality facing Mikel Arteta and his underdog Arsenal team as they gear up to face Chelsea at Wembley at 6.30pm.
Having qualified for either the Champions League or the Europa League for every season since 1995/96, the Gunners are facing their worst ever term since a disastrous 12th-place finish in 1994/95 saw them miss out on European football.
Eighth in the Premier League this time around, Arteta’s boys’ only path to Europe is a win in the FA Cup final which will see them qualify for the Europa League.
Standing in their way is a Chelsea team that finished fourth in the league, with coach Frank Lampard looking to become the 18th man to win the famous cup both as a player and a coach.
In fact, both managers are in line for that honour.
Arteta lifted the trophy for the Gunners as captain in 2014 and received a winners’ medal when the club retained the title the following year.
Lampard, meanwhile, won the tournament four times with Chelsea. And should the club legend lead his charges to glory, he will become the ninth coach to win the trophy for the Blues - each previous title was won by a different coach.
The Gunners, aan die ander kant, have a 100 percent record of FA Cup final victories over their London rivals, having beaten them in the 2002 showdown and the 2017 decider and are looking to extend their record 13 wins in the tournament.