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Arsenal’s dream Champions League scenario as UEFA get approval for new format

Arsenal’s dream Champions League scenario as UEFA get approval for new format

This week marks the return of the UEFA Champions League, a reminder of where Arsenal hopes to be in the near future.

The Gunners may be a little envious as their London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea face AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16 over the next month, not to mention Manchester City facing RB Leipzig and a rematch of last season’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid.

Mikel Arteta and Arsenal fans do not require a reminder that things could have been very different, as they entered the final three games of the 2021/22 season on track to end a five-year absence from European football’s elite club competition, but fell short by two points.

Although the only positive aspect of finishing fifth was qualifying for the Europa League after not having played in Europe at all the previous season.

And in light of the forthcoming changes to Champions League qualification, the fact that the current Premier League leaders topped their group before the holidays is a positive sign.

As previously announced by UEFA, the Champions League will adopt a new format for the 2024/25 season, with all 36 competing clubs competing in a single league.

This represents a departure from the current group stage format of 32 teams, and most importantly, as the statement explained:

“This will give four more sides the opportunity to compete against the best clubs in Europe.”

Access will no longer be granted to “two clubs with the highest club coefficients who did not qualify automatically for the Champions League’s league stage but who qualified for either the Champions League qualification phase or the Europa League/the Europa Conference League.”

The four additional places created by the increase from 32 to 36 teams in the league phase of the UEFA Champions League will be allocated as follows, as announced on the official website of UEFA in May 2022, when the changes were finalised and approved.

  • ‘One place will go to the club ranked third in the championship of the association in fifth position in the UEFA national association ranking.’
  • One place will be awarded to a domestic champion by extending from four to five the number of clubs qualifying via the so-called “Champions Path”.
  • ‘The final two places will go to the associations with the best collective performance by their clubs in the previous season (total number of points obtained divided by the number of participating clubs). Those two associations will earn one place for the club best ranked in the domestic league behind the UEFA Champions League positions.’

Interestingly, if this change had been implemented this season, England and the Netherlands would have added one club to the Champions League based on the collective performance of their clubs, with 21,000 and 19,200 points, respectively.

If the changes were implemented a year earlier, England (16.571) and Germany (13.750) would each add one club to the Champions League for the upcoming season.

This is largely based on the performances of all seven Premier League teams in the three European competitions thus far this season. Man City, Tottenham, Chelsea, and Liverpool are all in the round of 16 of the Champions League, as mentioned previously. Manchester United will face Barcelona in a Europa League knockout round play-off, and West Ham United won their UEFA Conference League group with a perfect record.


Of course, Arsenal are also contributing. In the Europa League’s round of 16 after topping their group ahead of PSV Eindhoven, and will add to England’s point total by advancing far in the competition, preferably reaching another final.

If England’s representatives – whoever they may be – can have a similarly strong showing in European competition next season, the reward will almost certainly be an additional Champions League spot for one Premier League team in the 2024/25 season.

Therefore, it is in Arsenal’s best interest if their rivals have deep runs in Europe this and next season, so that if they fail to finish in the top four in 2023/24, they can still take advantage of the Champions League group phase expanding to 36 teams based on the performance of English clubs as a whole.

Arsenal’s dream Champions League scenario as UEFA get approval for new format

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