Could Arsenal really finish fourth and not be allowed in the Champs League?


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By Tony Attwood

Arsenal could finish fourth in the League this season and be refused a place in the Champions League.   That is the headline that the Mirror has now run three times in recent days.  And because it is in the Mirror it has turned up or will turn up in other publications owned by Reach the publishing house best known for its phone hacking scandal, and owners of Football.London, Sunday Mirror, The Sunday People, Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star, Daily Star Sunday, and loads more across the country.

The story is this: since 2013 there has been a rule that no more than five teams from the same league can compete in the Champs League.  Also in the rules the winner of the Champions League the previous season gets in, and the winner of the Europa League also gets in.  So if both of those clubs are English AND are from outside the top four at the end of this season, they take up two spaces, and leave only the top three places for other English teams.  And so in that scenario the fourth placed team doesn’t qualify.

So looking at the table at the moment, we see Arsenal as the fourth placed team.  Manchester United in fifth, won their group stage in the Champions League while West Ham went straight into the last 16 of the Europa League following a rule change that meant group stage winners miss out on the round of 32.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 28 22 3 3 68 18 50 69
2 Liverpool 27 19 6 2 71 20 51 63
3 Chelsea 27 16 8 3 56 19 37 56
4 Arsenal 25 15 3 7 41 29 12 48
5 Manchester United 28 13 8 7 45 38 7 47
6 West Ham United 28 13 6 9 46 35 11 45

So for Arsenal to be knocked out of the Champions League Manchester United and West Ham have to win the Champs and Europa league.

In 2019, as you will remember, all four finalists in the Champs League and Europa League were English but the winners were not the fifth and sixth placed teams in the league at the time.  The chances therefore of a) the league staying the same as it is now in terms of positions, and Manchester United and WHAM both winning the competitions seem rather slim.  So slim one wonders why the Mirror is not just mentioning it once, but again and again and again.

Besides, looking at the fixtures and noting the recent political issues I would still give Arsenal a chance of overcoming Chelsea to get into third place.  Much depends on how matters unfold at Chelsea both in terms of how the players react and indeed how the crowd react.

Meanwhile the Mirror is not only saying we might not make it into Europe but also that Arsenal are planning to sign six new players: two strikers, a midfielder, a winger, a left-sided centre-back and a right-back.   Which is interesting, because surely a bigger story given their piece about Arsenal not getting into the Champs League is Tottenham (who have lost four of their last seven games) not getting into Europe at all.

But staying with the Arsenal transfers everyone seems sure Lacazette is moving on, despite the fact that since becoming captain he has played 11, scored two and had seven assists, which are not bad numbers especially as we have been playing without Smith Rowe.

One of the tricks being used to draw people in of course is through the use of the word “identified” as  with the headline  Arsenal news: Midfield transfer target identified – which makes it sound like Arsenal have identified who they want and will now try and sign.  Instead the identification came from “Former Gunners favourite Jérémie Aliadière”  He last played (for Lorient) in 2017, ten years after leaving Arsenal.

Meanwhile in real news The Federal Prosecutor’s Office in the Fifa trial over TV rights has asked for prison sentences of 35 months against Jerome Valcke (former Secretary General of Fifa), 28 months against Nasser Al-Khelaïfi the PSG President, and 30 months against the unnamed third defendant in the appeal trial on FIFA TV rights.

Federal Prosecutor stated that Jérôme Valcke should be found guilty of aggravated disloyal management and passive corruption and forgery.   Nasser Al-Khelaïfi should be convicted of instigating disloyal management and the third defendant of instigating aggravated disloyal management and active corruption.

The federal prosecutor opened her indictment by referring to the verdict of the Court of Criminal Cases in the autumn of 2020, which resulted in the conviction of only Jerome Valcke, the former secretary general of FIFA, for forgery.  However the defence argue that the court made a selective reading of the law and jurisprudence on corruption – hence the re-trial.

From the Arsenal History Society

100 Years in the First Division: the complete story of Arsenal’s promotion in 1919

Henry Norris at the Arsenal:  There is a full index to the series here.

Arsenal in the 1930s: The most comprehensive series on the decade ever

Arsenal in the 1970s: Every match and every intrigue reviewed in detail.

4 Replies to “Could Arsenal really finish fourth and not be allowed in the Champs League?”

  1. The Guardian being rather positive with Arsenal feels like we’ve entered the Twilight Zone…
    A tie between Sp*rs and Manure woul see both lose 2 points…
    Would be a perfect result….
    And Leicester won’t have Vardy playing on Sunday, which, let’s admit it, is good news from an Arsenal perspective.

    Then again, its 90+some minutes to be played and beating PGMOL will probably be more complicated then beating the other team.

  2. Have to say it’s good to see Vardy won’t be playing , I’m fairly sure he puts his elbows into a pencil sharpener shortly before any match with us.

  3. Manchester Untidy were knocked out of the CL last night. They have to finish in the top 4 to qualify for next year’s competition.

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