When it comes to qualifying for one of Europe’s most prestigious football league, Arsenal have two key options facing them. They can either finish in the top four of the Premier League, or approach it differently and hope to win the Europa League.
But whatever route Arsene Wenger’s team go for, one thing’s for certain. Last season’s disaster of a performance (where they failed to qualify for the first time since the 1990s) must not be replicated if the team wish to win back the hearts and minds of some of their wavering fans – and avoid a whole host of financial problems for the club.
In this article, we’ll take a look at why Arsenal need to avoid the problems of last time round, and take a look at how they can break back in to victory territory.
Money, money, money
The disaster that happened last season didn’t just cause a dent in the reputation of the club or hit the morale of fans and players. It also caused some financial problems for the club, which has become used to all of the trappings that qualifying for and performing in the Champions League can bring.
While nothing is ever in the bag for football clubs, it’s understandable that many major clubs – such as Arsenal – at least hope and prepare for certain sources of victory income coming through.
Failing to qualify means missing out on a whole host of this expected income, including the prize money on offer – which can stretch into tens of millions of dollars.
It’s more than just prize money, though: clubs can also receive, for example, a share of revenues from TV broadcasts of Champions League matches, and if they’re not playing, they don’t get it.
Then there are also the longer-term risks and costs associated with the reputational damage that failing to qualify can incur. Advertisers may consider Arsenal to be a marginally less high profile club than it was last year, for example, and reallocate cash accordingly.
While phenomena like this can be hard to prove as direct consequences of losses in this or other competitions, it’s clear it can all factor in.
Is Arsene the problem?
It has not been an easy year for the club’s manager, Arsene Wenger. Chants of “Wenger out” have been heard among fans for months on end, and while he has held out so far, speculation continues to be rife about his future.
Despite success in the FA Cup last season, responsibility for the failure to qualify in Europe has largely been placed at his door. It was the first time the side had failed to qualify since Wenger took over in October of 1996, but he has been shown little mercy. It’s not too late for Wenger to quit or be replaced, but it does look unlikely.
One big job Wenger has to carry out in the run-up to Champions League qualification is to decide on the best way to keep a top-notch team together, and that involves deciding on the right configuration of players.
For example, some pundits reckon that a major way for Arsenal to hit a top four position is for Wenger to keep players such as Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil on post.
Ultimately, though, decisions like these will be up to Wenger – and he is likely to live or die by his choice.
How it can happen
For Arsenal to qualify in the Champions League, their first option is to finish in a top four spot in the British Premier League. Odds of around 13/8 are available online for this.
This isn’t the only way, of course. The side could also win the Europa League in order to qualify, and with odds like 5/1 available on this, it may well be a possibility – suggesting that placing a bet at Stakers online may be a good move.
Ultimately, it’s clear that Arsenal need to qualify for the Champions League in order to derive the benefits that membership of this prestigious tournament can provide.
Whether it’s to keep their reputation and fan morale up, give themselves a cash boost or stabilise their manager’s position, there are plenty of reasons for them to put all of their efforts in to making it happen.
And with the odds suggesting that – while it’s not in the bag – an Arsenal qualification may well happen, it could be a good chance for you to have a punt on the side’s sporting success.