Mikel Arteta tipped to end Arsenal’s four-year Champions League absence after Man United slip


Arsenal now have one realistic chance of ending their four-year absence from the Champions League.

With 11 games left of the Premier League season, the Gunners find themselves 12 points off the top-four and still have the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Liverpool and Chelsea to play.

Worryingly, perhaps, for Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is that his side have a major battle on their hands just to be playing in Europe next season.

In fact, recent results suggest their best chance of ensuring European qualification is to win the Europa League which comes with the added bonus of a Champions League spot for the following season.

Following Thursday night’s last-16 first-leg ties, the north London outfit will feel they already have one foot in the quarter-final after beating Olympiacos 3-1 in the away leg thanks to goals from Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Magalhaes and Mohamed Elneny.

As a result, the chances of the Gunners going all the way in the competition are very high.

According to statistics website FiveThirtyEight, Arsenal have a 34% chance of reaching the final and an 18% probability of emerging victorious.

Arsenal are the new favourites to win the Europa League. (Image via FiveThirtyEight)
Arsenal are the new favourites to win the Europa League. (Image via FiveThirtyEight)

As seen in the image above, Manchester United – the previous favourites – have now slipped behind Arsenal – following their 1-1 draw against AC Milan on Thursday, but they are just as likely to pick up the trophy should they reach the final.

Meanwhile, Tottenham are regarded as the fourth favourites to win the Europa League.

That is below Ajax but above AS Roma, Villarreal – now managed by former Arsenal head coach Unai Emery – and recently crowned Scottish champions Rangers.

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Arsenal being tipped to end their mini-hiatus from the Champions League is great news for Arteta, who admitted this week that playing in European football’s elite competition is important financially.

“It’s another big important factor because that gives us the opportunity again to keep our club involved in Europe whether it’s in the Europa League or Champions League,” the Spaniard said. We know the aim is all the time to be in the Champions League, but at the moment things are looking difficult, but possible.

“The financial package that is attached to it at the moment is really, really important.”





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