The race for the top four and potential places in the Champions League will go into a frantic finale for yet another season. At least eight teams are in this race, but a giant spotlight will be focused on Arsenal as the Gunners attempt to get back to the competition eight years down the line.
The last two seasons have been torrid for a transitioning Arsenal, finishing eighth in both. For the 2019/20 season, though, they secured European football by winning the FA Cup, which saw them compete in the Europa League. This season they had no continental football at the Emirates due to a trophyless season in the 2020/21 campaign.
There has been a remarkable turnaround at the club this season despite a slow start, and they are in the picture for a top four finish, which ordinarily should assure them of a place in the Champions League. In their 2022 form, most football predictions today in the betting sites listed on Wincomparator will have Arsenal as favorites for a top four place, but this may not be all they need to qualify for a place in the Champions League.
The Gunners may be ahead of Manchester United and West Ham United in the league standings for starters. However, because these two are still in European competitions and contention, Mikel Arteta’s side can’t celebrate yet. Should these sides win their respective European competitions, Arsenal’s wait for a return to Europe’s elite will be further prolonged.
A change of UEFA regulations back in 2013 meant no more than five teams from the same association could compete in Europe’s elite competition, which may hinder Arsenal’s return. Manchester United is competing in the Champions League, and West Ham is in the Europa League. If both win and fail to finish in the top four, Arsenal will be in a tight spot as it would mean only the top three qualify for the Champions League by virtue of their positions.
At the moment, Manchester United is fifth and West Ham United sixth following losses over the weekend, and as they go into their respective European matches soon, Arsenal will be praying for a huge favor from two Spanish sides. The Gunners will hope Atletico Madrid dumps Manchester United out of the Champions League, or Sevilla eliminated West Ham from the Europa League.
This scenario will not be the first in England, as Arsenal’s bitter rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, were locked out of the UEFA Champions League in 2012/13 after Chelsea, who finished sixth, went on to win the Champions League and Spurs, who had finished fourth were locked out of the Champions League.
It remains a slim possibility that both United and West Ham can win the two continental titles, but it had happened before when English teams won both titles. For now, Arsenal should focus and brace for a tough run in the remaining two months of the season, when they will play Liverpool, United, Chelsea, Tottenham, West Ham, and more.