Arsenal need to defy the odds if they want to qualify for Europe next season

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It’s been a hugely disappointing campaign for Arsenal and the club are in real danger of missing out on European qualification for next season.

Fans were quietly optimistic heading into the 2020/21 season following what appeared to be a very positive summer transfer window. Thomas Partey arrived in a big-money move from Atletico Madrid, Gabriel was signed to shore-up the defence, William Saliba began his career at Arsenal having arrived from St-Etienne and Willian was seen as a shrewd capture on a free transfer.

Many supporters were expecting a real push for a top four finish. However, things haven’t gone to plan as Partey – impressive though he is when fit – has struggled with a number of injuries, Willian has proven to be a dreadful signing, Gabriel has only shown glimpses of his potential and Saliba is yet to make his debut for the club after a difficult start to life in England.

Mikel Arteta has struggled to find the right balance and the Gunners slumped to their 11th defeat of the season with a 1-0 home loss to Manchester City at the weekend. Arsenal now sit 10th in the table with just 13 games remaining.

Odds against

Some fans are still dreaming the club can make a late push for a European qualification place but all of the best online casino sites and betting companies are backing Arsenal to miss out. At the time of writing, the Gunners are 6/1 outsiders to finish in the top 6 positions this season. Nine other clubs are expected to finish above them, including the likes of Aston Villa, West Ham, Everton and Tottenham.

It’s a sorry state of affairs for a club the size of Arsenal to be in. We’re still in February and the bookmakers have already written-off the clubs chances of even finishing in the top 6. That would be unthinkable a few years ago when the North Londoners were vilified for ‘only’ finishing fourth every season.

Things could get worse before they get better as Arsenal have a tough run of fixtures coming up with Arteta’s men facing four clubs above them in their next five games. Trips to Leicester and West Ham won’t be easy while they also host Tottenham and Liverpool at the Emirates so Arsenal could easily be even further down the table by the start of April.

However, if Arteta can put a strong run together during the coming weeks and pick up some surprise wins, then there is still a chance Arsenal could defy the odds and sneak a top 6 finish but it’s going to be extremely tough.

Liverpool currently occupy sixth place on 40 points – six points ahead of Arsenal – with Everton level on points with their Mersey rivals in seventh. The Gunners will probably need to win 8-9 of their remaining 13 games to snatch a top 6 place so it’s highly unlikely.

Arsenal finished eighth last season but qualified for the Europa League by winning the FA Cup. They’ve already been knocked out of the cup this season so realistically, Arteta’s best chance of securing European football is to win the Europa League.

They drew the away leg of their tie with Benfica 1-1 so Thursday’s return leg is vital. If Arsenal can book their place in the last-16, then they should focus on winning the Europa League to salvage something from the season.