With Arsenal top of the table with 10 games to go, Champions League qualification seems inevitable for the club but when is the earliest they can seal a return to the competition?
Tottenham Hotspur currently occupy fourth spot in the Premier League table, some 20 points behind Arsenal.
Should they win all their remaining games (ha!) that means Spurs can pick up a maximum of 79 points.
St Totteringham’s Day returns
Arsenal are just 10 points shy of that total after their 4-1 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday, which means that if they beat Leeds, Liverpool, West Ham and Southampton, they will secure St Totteringham’s Day. They can even afford to draw one of those games as their goal difference is so superior to Spurs (40 vs 12).
And, as I said, that’s only if Spurs win all their games. It is quite conceivable that it will come even earlier and it would take a disaster of epic proportions for Arsenal to fail to finish above their north London rivals this season.
(As an aside, Arsenal have already matched their points total from the entire 21/22 season and are just one win away from ensuring they finish above Chelsea)
Newcastle currently sit in fifth place, two points behind Spurs but with two games in hand.
If the Magpies were to win all their games (again, unlikely and, with Spurs and Newcastle still to play each other, impossible for both to win all their games), they can collect a maximum of 83 points.
That would mean Arsenal need to not only beat the three teams mentioned above to secure a top four finish, but also Manchester City to give them 84 points if we are still asking when is the soonest they can do that.
Of course, it is unlikely to be as straight forward as that with all teams dropping points, and, as mentioned, Newcastle host Tottenham on 23 April.
But, there is every chance Arsenal can claim their Champions League return before April is over.
Tottenham’s next 5 matches
- Everton vs Tottenham
- Tottenham vs Brighton
- Tottenham vs Bournemouth
- Newcastle vs Tottenham
- Tottenham vs Man United
Newcastle United’s next 5 matches
- Newcastle United vs Manchester United
- West Ham vs Newcastle United
- Brentford vs Newcastle United
- Aston Villa vs Newcastle United
- Newcastle United vs Tottenham
Arsenal Champions League qualification
Arsenal have qualified for the Champions League 19 times.
Here is how far they got in the competition each year:
- 1998-99: Group Stage
- 1999-00: Group Stage
- 2000-01: Quarter-finals
- 2001-02: Second Group Stage
- 2002-03: Second Group Stage
- 2003-04: Quarter-finals
- 2004-05: Round of 16
- 2005-06: Runners-up
- 2006-07: Round of 16
- 2007-08: Quarter-finals
- 2008-09: Semi-finals
- 2009-10: Quarter-finals
- 2010-11: Round of 16
- 2011-12: Round of 16
- 2012-13: Round of 16
- 2013-14: Round of 16
- 2014-15: Round of 16
- 2015-16: Round of 16
- 2016-17: Round of 16
- 2017-18: Did not qualify
- 2018-19: Did not qualify
- 2019-20: Did not qualify
- 2020-21: Did not qualify
Arsenal in the Champions League
- Arsenal’s best performance in the Champions League was reaching the final in the 2005-06 season, where, down to 10 men, they lost 2-1 to Barcelona.
- They have reached the knockout stage of the competition 15 times, and the group stage 4 times.
- Arsenal have won 91 of their 188 Champions League matches, drawing 48 and losing 49.
- They have scored a total of 282 goals and conceded 202 in the competition.
- The top scorer for Arsenal in the Champions League is Thierry Henry, who scored 35 goals in 80 appearances.
- Arsenal’s biggest win in the competition was a 7-0 victory over Slavia Prague in the group stage of the 2007-08 season.
- Their biggest defeat was a 5-1 loss to Bayern Munich in the round of 16 of the 2016-17 season. I’m ignoring that that scoreline happened more than once.
- Arsenal have faced 64 different opponents in the Champions League, with Bayern Munich being the team they have faced the most (12 times).
- Arsenal have never won the Champions League but did win the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in the 1993-94 season.
Arsenal’s 2006 Champions League final
The 2006 UEFA Champions League Final took place on May 17, 2006, at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, a suburb of Paris, France when Arsenal met Barcelona.
The Gunners, managed by Arsène Wenger, reached the final for the first time in their history, while Barcelona, managed by Frank Rijkaard, had previously won the competition twice. Both teams were strong contenders, with Arsenal boasting a solid defence in their run to the final and Barcelona fielding a formidable attack led by Ronaldinho.
However, despite the Gunners’ confidence ahead of the match after beating Real Madrid, Juventus and Villarreal in the knock-out rounds without conceding a single goal, Arsenal’s fate was sealed in the 18th minute when Jens Lehmann was sent off by Terje Hauge for a professional foul on Samuel Eto’o just outside the penalty area. Lehmann became the first goalkeeper to be sent off in a Champions League final.
Arsenal were forced to replace Robert Pires with Manuel Almunia and the rest is, as they say, history.
Despite being down to 10 men, Arsenal took the lead in the 37th minute with a header from Sol Campbell following a free-kick taken by Thierry Henry, a goal no Arsenal fan has watched since. Barcelona pushed for an equaliser, but Arsenal held onto their lead for most of the match.
The turning point eventually came in the final 15 minutes when Barcelona made a late comeback. In the 76th minute, Samuel Eto’o equalised with a low shot that went past Almunia.
Just four minutes later, in the 80th minute, Juliano Belletti scored the winning goal for Barcelona with a shot that deflected off Almunia and went into the net and it was all over.
Barcelona won their third Champions League title.
Despite their defeat, Arsenal received praise for their resilient performance with 10 men for most of the match but it will forever remain a place of pain for Arsenal fans.
Can’t wait to have another go!