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Five Truths: Arsenal can emulate Manchester United, Ronald Koeman must turn to Ademola Lookman

Five Truths: Arsenal can emulate United, Koeman must turn to Lookman
By Eurosport

28/09/2017 at 23:25Updated 29/09/2017 at 09:25

Our writers take you through what we learnt from the Europa League on Thursday night...

Arsenal can make good use of the Europa League

Manchester United, City, Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea look ahead of Arsenal in the race for the top-four spots in the Premier League, and they face troubles with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil potentially already looking for January exits. However, they have the advantage of a Europa League place. It may not be glamorous, but they are the clear favourites in the tournament and should attempt to use this as a back door into next year's Champions League.

Arsenal's Theo Walcott scores their first goal

Arsenal's Theo Walcott scores their first goalReuters

Two comfortable victories mean that progress to the knockout rounds is theirs if they want it. But there's more to it than that. An impressive showing from young players like Joe Willock can let Arsenal think big for next season away from Premier League pressure, and with an excellent Jack Wilshere performance, they might finally rehabilitate him into the player he should be. It might be tempting to fight for the Champions League spot, but the Europa League is the most pragmatic choice.

Come back Jack...

Wilshere showed that he could marshal a young Arsenal team in Europe, which is not to be sniffed at given he would be one of the senior figures in Southgate's set-up, and also pick some superb passes. The competition in those holding midfielder positions is also pretty sparse with Jordan Henderson, Eric Dier, Jake Livermore and Delph hardly world beaters. So there is certainly a spot, but as ever, fitness is the key.

Koeman can't keep overlooking Lookman

As Everton searched for a goal against Apollon Limassol Ronald Koeman turned to Nikola Vlasic and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Both youngsters, particularly Vlasic, changed the game with their pace and willingness to run at defenders. Their performances give rise to questions about why neither started, and why Ademola Lookman wasn't used at all. Given how impressive Lookman has been for Everton and England's youth teams thus far in his young career it's baffling that Koeman hasn't used him more often.

Lookman has incredible technical skill to go with his pace and given the struggles of Sandro surely Koeman has to consider pairing his two young English attackers together?

Liverpool should be encouraged by Allan's display

One of the more interesting story lines from Everton's match against Apollon was Allan de Souza's performance in midfield. The Brazilian is on-loan at the Cypriot club from Liverpool and although he is highly thought of he hasn't been able to play for the Reds' first team yet. He didn't set the world alight but he was solid enough at Goodison Park, wasn't afraid to get stuck in and generally used the ball well.

Everton's English midfielder Tom Davies (L) vies with Apollon Limassol's Brazilian midfielder Allan during the UEFA Europa League Group stage match between Everton and Apollon Limassol at Goodison Park, in Liverpool on September 28, 2017.

Everton's English midfielder Tom Davies (L) vies with Apollon Limassol's Brazilian midfielder Allan during the UEFA Europa League Group stage match between Everton and Apollon Limassol at Goodison Park, in Liverpool on September 28, 2017.Getty Images

Does he have the ability to be a first-team regular for Liverpool? That's hard to say at this stage but his performance suggests he deserves a chance at least.

Time for Ronald to be realistic

Yes, top four is a ridiculous target for Everton given that two of Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham will likely not feature in the Champions League spots at the end of the season.

Ronald Koeman, Manager of Everton reacts during the UEFA Europa League group E match between Everton FC and Apollon Limassol at Goodison Park on September 28, 2017 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Ronald Koeman, Manager of Everton reacts during the UEFA Europa League group E match between Everton FC and Apollon Limassol at Goodison Park on September 28, 2017 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.Getty Images

But it’s Koeman that now needs a dose of reality. Although PSG can spend £60m more on a single player than Everton have on their entire squad, the money the Merseysiders spent over the summer was a significant outlay for them, especially compared with some of the other sides above their meagre position of 14th in the league. Not to mention Apollon Limassol, the side they drew with on Thursday, who are eighth in their domestic division.

Everton have won only one of their last eight meaningful fixtures and the Europa League, which represented a realistic target for them, is virtually out of sight. Koeman may be looking over his shoulder already. After all, if triple Champions League winner Carlo Ancelotti can get sacked this early in the season…

Alex Netherton, Pete Sharland, Kevin Coulson

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