Just four points separate Arsenal Football Club from the reigning champions of the Premier League, Manchester City. The Gunners surprised everyone last year with a late-season run that saw them jump from mid-table to fourth place. However, with two gut-wrenching losses at the very end of the season, Arsenal fell to fifth place, eliminating themselves from the highest level of European soccer. Despite last season’s shock finish, Arsenal has had a remarkable turnaround and looks to once again hoist the Premier League trophy.
The Premier League is played with a qualification system. Almost every town in Europe has a team that competes to reach higher leagues within the same country. In England, the most famous and highest league is the Premier League, which has six more named leagues of professional soccer beneath it. Each year, the bottom three teams in the Premier League are relegated to the league below called the EFL Championship, and similarly, the top three teams from the EFL Championship are then brought up.
Every European country has a system similar to that of England, and the top four teams hailing from each league come together every year to play in the Champions League. Similarly, fifth through eighth place come together to play in the Europa League, the lower echelon, but entertaining nonetheless. Achieving a spot in either tournament not only brings grandeur to the club but also far more revenue that allows clubs to invest in more expensive players, keeping them at the top longer.
Just to put the excitement around these tournaments in perspective, while the Super Bowl garners a viewership of around 200 million, the Champions League final has around 400 million viewers and the World Cup has a whopping one billion viewers.
At the Premier League, there is a close title race between Arsenal and Manchester City. While Manchester City had a slow start to the season, they have since picked up their form and currently sit in second place with 70 points, just four points behind Arsenal. As it stands, they are within striking distance of surpassing Arsenal for the number one spot in the League.
After a dream start to the season, many thought that Arsenal would drop their form, but despite losing their top striker Gabriel Jesus to injury in December, the team has been resilient in the face of Man City’s mounting pressure. Other teams in contention for the top four include Manchester United, Newcastle United and Tottenham, who are all currently hovering around third place with 59, 56 and 53 points.
Arsenal's current manager, Mikel Arteta, has played an instrumental role in turning the club's fortunes around. A former Arsenal player himself, Arteta took over as manager in December 2019 and has since implemented a more disciplined and structured style of play that has yielded impressive results. Key players for Arsenal this season include Martin Ødegaard, Aaron Ramsdale, Bukayo Saka and William Saliba, who have all contributed significantly to the team's success.
It’s been 19 years since the Gunners hoisted the trophy with Arsène Wenger at the helm, but the squad has never looked better. Whatever happens at the top, however, it seems that Arsenal, at the very least, has all but guaranteed themselves a trip to the Champions League this season, which will leave fans more than satisfied.