Not since a 5-1 humbling at home to Bayern Munich on March 7 2017 have Arsenal been able to soak up the famous Champions League theme. It’s been four consecutive campaigns in the Europa League since.
Finding a route back into the upper tier of European competition grows tougher by the year, as Arsenal falter in the Premier League and fail to make a lasting impression on the Europa League. Reaching the semi-finals and the final, as well as fifth and sixth place finishes domestically have been ‘what if’ moments.
This season a top four finish looks beyond their reach and the quality of opposition left in Europe makes for daunting reading.
However, for the first time, Premier League sides discussed new UEFA proposals to to expand the Champions League to allow for up to six English clubs to enter the competition from 2024 onwards. In total, 36 clubs would compete in the new-look version, with each side playing ten group matches, earning a league position then qualifying into the next stages.
Arsenal could be granted stunning route back into the Champions League
Discussed in February’s shareholder’s meeting, and relayed by the Telegraph, the top four sides in England would be granted their place with up to two other slots allocated based on UEFA co-efficient, a metric that determines a club’s standing based on their historical success in Europe.
As it stands, Arsenal’s co-efficient score is currently 11th in Europe, with the other ten sides all boasting a qualification spot in their respective leagues. This of course is subject to change between now and 2024, as the rankings are determined on European performance over the previous five seasons. Since the Gunners reached a semi-final and final during that time, they’re ranked quite high.
If Arsenal keep reaching the latter stages of the Europa League yet continue to fall away from the pack in the Premier League, their placing in this new-look competition would be close to sealed.
This is at this stage just discussion and not finalised, merely acting as an alternative to the proposed European Super League.
Naturally, various discussions will emerge as to whether it’s justified for a club to underperform in their domestic league but do well in knockout competition and be granted a Champions League berth as a result. Reward European performance over domestic?
As stated, it’s only a proposal at this stage.