Arsenal face horror Champions League group and will be praying Liverpool miss out on top four
ARSENAL face a Champions League kick in the teeth for next season.
Despite a likely runners-up spot in the Premier League, the Gunners are heading for the THIRD seeding pot in August’s group stage draw in Monaco.
ReutersArsenal could be in line for a nightmare Champions League draw[/caption]
ReutersMikel Arteta will be desperate for Liverpool not to qualify for the Champions League[/caption]
It means Mikel Arteta’s side, back in the elite competition after a seven-year absence, could face a horror draw against the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
And while the Gunners could still be promoted into the second batch of seeds, they will be desperate for Liverpool’s late top four charge to fail – as success would boot them another place down the rankings.
Uefa regulations mean the champions of the top six nations in the “country coefficient” – compiled over five seasons are automatic top seeds, along with the Champions League and Europa League winners.
The rest of the seeding pots are ranked on the “club coefficient” scores, with each team’s results during the past five seasons of European action added up.
If things remain as they are across Europe’s major leagues, the top seeds will be Manchester City, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Napoli, PSG and Benfica, along with the two competition winners.
If City win the Champions League as well as the Prem, the final and eighth spot will go to Dutch champions Feyenoord.
As things stand, the eight highest ranked non-champion qualifiers, who would form the second seeding group, would be Real Madrid, Manchester United, Juventus, Inter Milan, Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid, RB Leipzig and Porto.
Arsenal will miss out by one place.
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That could change, however, with Juventus facing a final decision on whether they should be deducted points, potentially ruling them out of the Champions League frame by an Italian tribunal next Monday.
The Turin side are currently second but are expected to lose as many as ten points, and if they finished outside the Serie A top four in place of AC Milan, that would promote Arsenal.
Likewise, if Real Madrid or Inter Milan – they have one foot in the final after their first leg win over their San Siro neighbours last week – triumph in Istanbul next month, Arsenal would be assured of the final second seeding berth.
However, if Liverpool get into the top four, with Newcastle the team to miss out, then it would need BOTH Juventus’ demotion and a Real or Inter Champions League triumph for Arsenal to be in the second tier.
Newcastle, who have not played in Europe since reaching the last eight of the Europa League in 2013, will be guaranteed a group stage place if they finish in the top four.
But Eddie Howe’s Magpies are certain to be in the bottom seeding pot, ensuring a tough draw with at least two major sides to face.