After years in the Champions League wilderness, Arsenal has returned to Europe’s elite club competition this season.
With the North London outfit making significant improvements domestically in the English Premier League, the club looks ready to mix it with the big teams on the continent once again.
Gunners Becoming A Force In England
Before looking at Arsenal’s ambitions in Europe this season, it’s best to first understand how this side has emerged as a real force in the Premier League once again. Arsenal has gone from a side unable to finish in the top four in the English top flight, to one that is +800 in the Champions League betting to win the European crown this season.
Arsenal’s hierarchy can take plenty of credit for the club’s recent improvement, especially with their decision to stick with manager Mikel Arteta after the 2021/22 Premier League season.
The Gunners were then in the driving seat to secure a top-four finish and finally secure a return to the Champions League for the first time since the 2016/17 season. However, Arsenal ran out of gas toward the latter stages of the campaign and in the final weeks saw rivals Tottenham Hotspur leapfrog them into the fourth spot.
Missing out on Champions League football once again was tough to take, and there were some quarters of the Arsenal fanbase questioning if Arteta was the right man to take the club forward. The Spaniard certainly answered his critics, as the Gunners made an electric start to the 2022/23 campaign and battled Manchester City’s star-studded squad for the title.
In the end, Arsenal could not keep the pace and Pep Guardiola’s City were once again crowned champions of England. However, a second-place finish represented a huge step forward for Arsenal and ended the club’s long wait for a return to the Champions League.
Foundations There To Deliver Success
With consistency in the managerial position has come more consistency in results at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal now look to be a side capable of at least qualifying for the Champions League for seasons to come, while the Gunners will be eager to have another push for the Premier League title this term. The club moved on expendable players over the summer and made significant investments to bring international stars to the squad.
Arsenal’s squad looks to be stronger this season and of course, many will have gained plenty of experience from the roller coaster over the last couple of campaigns. Whether the improvement in the squad will be enough to bridge the gap to reigning champions Manchester City remains to be seen. However, Arsenal can not be criticised for resting on their laurels, and their investment in players over the summer should stand them in good stead for this exciting new season.
Making A Name In Europe Once Again
Under iconic former manager Arsène Wenger, Arsenal, who have produced some of the great Premier League players, used to be a mainstay in the Champions League and qualified for the competition for 19 consecutive seasons between 1998 and 2017. The Gunners even managed to reach the Champions League final in the 2005/06 season, becoming the first London club to do so.
However, despite taking a first-half lead in the final thanks to defender Sol Campbell, it was fellow finalists Barcelona who claimed the title thanks to two late goals from Samuel Eto’o and Juliano Belletti. It was a cruel end to the tournament for Wenger and his side, who have not since come as close to winning Europe’s elite club competition.
Arteta is now the manager in the Arsenal hot seat, with ambitions to take this famous club back into the latter stages of this prestigious tournament. Back in the Champions League after such a long wait, Arsenal certainly hit the ground running in their opening Group B game at the Emirates.
The Gunners gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about in North London, as they ran out 4-0 winners against Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven. After the full-time whistle, Arteta described the evening as a “beautiful” night and one that will have reminded Arsenal fans of what they have missed out on for so long.
It’s certainly exciting times at the Emirates and, after a couple of seasons of progress, there’s anticipation about what this Arsenal side can achieve in the Premier League and in Europe this season.