Mikel Arteta managed to secure European football for Arsenal at the last minute by winning last season’s FA Cup, and we may need some late heroics again this year.
Some of you might rather take a shot at winning money at a Thabet casino than backing Arsenal to earn European football for next season, but with rough odds of 9/2 (5.5) to see us secure a top-six finish, or around the same or slightly bigger to win the Europa League, there is certainly value to be had.
We find ourselves down in tenth in the Premier League table at present, but comfortable in the Europa League where we hold a 3-1 lead over Olympiacos from the first leg.
We will need to climb up to fifth in the division at present to secure European football for next term, although Manchester City will likely add an extra spot to the league positions by winning the League Cup final next month.
After tonight, the Gunners should be able to boast that they are one of only 8 teams remaining in the competition, and the betting already tells you that we are amongst the favourites to win this year’s edition.
Manchester United will likely be ranked as the favourites for the competition IF they can overcome AC Milan, which looks no easy task.
The Rossoneri were unlucky not to earn a victory at Old Trafford in the opening leg, although they will consider themselves lucky at the same time having secured a late equaliser (and away goal) which could be crucial. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has also returned to the playing squad ahead of the second-leg, and United will know the threat that he possesses having enjoyed his presence in their team previously.
Arsenal can’t afford to prioritise the European competition at present though, and are finding more consistency in the Premier League.
The gap to the European places isn’t small, but is attainable, and their victory over Tottenham at the weekend will have given the side a morale boost on top of the three points gained on one of our rivals for the Top Six.
Seventh place could well come into contention for Europe also, with the likes of Leicester, Chelsea, Manchester United and Man City all in the last eight of the FA Cup also.
You wouldn’t put it past the Citizens to use their squad advantage to clinch a domestic treble, and that would mean we are only five points lower than we would need to be to qualify for Europe through our league position.
Is seventh in the league easily attainable from our current position?