With just 3 games remaining in the current Premier League season, Arsenal could miss out on European football for the first time since 1996, 25 years ago. In fact, this has been called one of the biggest falls from grace to grass in the league’s nearly 30 years history. From always having a guaranteed place in the Champions League (Top 4) every season during the Wenger era, to getting kicked out of the top 4 by Spurs, to now practically getting bullied out of a place in the Europa league by the likes of West Ham, Everton, and Leicester. It’s been nothing short of a disaster for a club once noted for going unbeaten a whole season, playing beautiful football, effectively managing a transition to a new stadium, and raising world class football talent like Ashley Cole, Theo Walcott, Robin Van Persie, and Cesc Fabregas. With the club’s finances already hit by the pandemic, a loss of European football with all the money that comes with it, could send the club on a path that could lead to the way of Leeds United in 2004.
Arsenal have not played in the Champions League since 2017. But while the Europa League may not bring in as much money as the Champions League, it provides a much-needed revenue stream which has been used to strengthen the squad with players like Nicholas Pepe, Kieran Tierney, and Gabriel Magalhães. Everyone one knows Arsenal is rebuilding and a cut to the funds available to sign players would be a bitter blow that fans would be unable to bear. The financial cost of missing out on European football would be a huge blow to Arsenal, which announced the first loss of revenue for the first time since 2002 last year. The club lost £27.1 million ($34.8m) in the 2018/19 season. Obviously the club would announce another loss for the 2019/2020 season because of the pandemic, and is likely to lose money this season (2020/21) for the same reason. Missing out on qualifying for Europe’s second-tier competition would also damage other revenue streams such as sponsorship deals and matchday income.
On Wednesday, the Gunners will face city rivals Chelsea, who are finalists at this year’s Champions league and have almost secured their spot in next season’s. Chelsea was smart enough to part ways with club legend Frank Lampard who was leading the team nowhere and bring in Thomas Tuchel who has had the midas touch since he came in. It seems every player he touches (except Timo Werner though) turns into gold. While Arsenal fans will be hoping for a repeat of last December’s outcome where the Gunners triumphed 3-1, the current reality for both teams indicates very different possibilities. Arsenal have scored just 42 goals this season, one of the lowest in the leagues, and one of their lowest ever in the league at this stage of the season. The Gunners have also lost 13 games this term, one of the highest of any team in the top 10 in the league. Conversely, Chelsea have conceded just 31 goals this season, the 2nd lowest in the league. Yes, they have lost 7 games, but that is the 3rd lowest in the league, and Arsenal have lost almost twice of it. For now it seems the European destiny of Arsenal is in Chelsea’s hands.
From all available statistics, it will take a very exceptional performance for Arsenal to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. This is why leading Bookmakers betBonanza have predicted a 57% chance of picking all three points, and because of the state of the Gunners, they have a 22% chance of defeating Chelsea.