How Arsenal could qualify for Champions League 20/21 despite being 9th

Written by Aayush Ray Sarkar

April 22, 2020

Before you get too excited, note that this is just one of many possible scenarios. We’ve been hearing about all kinds of scenarios regarding if and how the 19/20 season could be completed. This week, reports went as far as to suggest that football may not return until late 2021, upon the ‘recommendation’ of the World Health Organization – but rumours of this ‘recommendation’ were quickly denied by UEFA.

Although that would be a very extreme scenario, it remains a real possibility that the season may not go to completion, with The Guardian reporting that clubs and managers, including West Ham’s David Moyes, are losing confidence in plans to complete the season. The Premier League clubs’ official stance remains to complete the season “when it is safe”, but in reality even this agreement is under threat. Among the many complex issues is the question of player fatigue, as condensing so many fixtures into a short period of time would pose great challenges for clubs with smaller squads.

“An increasing number of Premier League clubs are actively discussing the possibility of bringing the season to an early end, with concerns ­growing over the feasibility of a return even behind closed doors.”
The next Premier League meeting is ­scheduled for ­Friday 1 May.

The Guardian

If the season cannot be completed, UEFA Europa League and Champions League spots still need to be filled. According to Italian paper Gazzetta, UEFA may want a list of qualifying clubs for both tournaments from each federation by August 3, with claims of meetings today and tomorrow in order to figure out more details.

So how could Arsenal end up in the 2020/21 Champions League despite being ninth in the Premier League as of now? The answer is if spaces are allocated according to UEFA coefficients, which according to journalist Martin Lipton is a real possibility. However, it is expected that most Premier League clubs will not respond well to the idea.

Uefa ordering the FA to ignore the Prem table when Wembley puts forward the clubs to take part in next season’s European competitions seems ridiculous. Uefa President Aleksander Ceferin is understood not to be in favour, arguing that the “integrity of competitions” must be paramount and urging this season’s performances to be decisive. Yet, bonkers as it may appear, that was one of the ideas booted round – and not off – the virtual boardroom table yesterday. A genuine proposal, that will be discussed by the influential European Clubs Association and Uefa today and then by European football’s ruling executive committee tomorrow.

Martin Lipton, The Sun

The score rankings would place City first, then Liverpool, then United, then Arsenal. Spurs could also make it through the back door if City’s ban is upheld.

If you’re unfamiliar with how the scores work, the tweet below really does it justice:

Header Photo: Zellreder, 2005

 

 

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