Are Arsenal’s hopes of finishing in the top 4 over already?

By on September 6, 2021

thomas partey arsenal

After a disastrous start to the new 2021/22 season, many are suggesting that Arsenal’s hopes of finishing in the top four are already over. Can Mikel Arteta turn things around and push for the Champions League places or are we consigned to another campaign of disappointment?

Arteta was given a lot of time last season as it was his first full season in charge and he came off the back of the FA Cup win in 2020. Despite finishing eighth and missing out on European football for the first time in 25 years, Arteta’s position never really seemed seriously under threat.

However, this season is going to be very different for the Spaniard. The board have backed him heavily in the transfer market as Arsenal ended the summer as the highest spenders in the Premier League having splashed over £140m on six new players.

Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Albert Lokonga, Nuno Tavares, Martin Odegaard and Takehiro Tomiyasu have all been signed after being specifically identified by Arteta to fit his rigid system. Arsenal couldn’t have done more to give the boss what he wanted but the board have set him the target of getting us back in the Champions League as quickly as possible.

Arsenal are fully expected to be challenging for the top four this season but unfortunately we’ve endured our worst start to a season in over 60 years. Three games played, zero points and zero goals scored. It’s a damming situation for Arteta to find himself in and the pressure is now on for him to turn things around.

Before the season began, a Colorado sportsbook priced Arsenal at 3/1 to finish in the top four this season. We were still behind the likes of Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd in the betting markets, but the bookies still at least gave us a chance of breaking into that all-important top four positions this season. However, following our disastrous opening three games, Arsenal have already drifted out to 12/1 NINTH favourites to finish in the top four.

Mikel Arteta Arsenal

Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United are all odds-on to finish in the top four so the bookmakers think the Champions League qualification places are wrapped-up before the season has really even begun. Tottenham are fifth favourites at 12/5 closely followed by Leicester City at 5/1. Everton and West Ham are even backed to finish above Arsenal.

So according to the bookmakers, Arsenal’s quest to qualify for the Champions League is already over and we’re left battling for the Europa League spot. And even that looks to be a tall order as the bookies believe we’ll struggle to finish in the top eight never mind the top six so Arsenal could be staring at another year without European football.

Obviously it’s still very early days and there is plenty of time for the club to get back on track, but there is now huge pressure for Arteta to turn things around as soon as possible. If Arsenal fail to collect six points from the upcoming games against Norwich and Burnley, then there will be growing calls for Arteta to be sacked.

The board have backed their manager but how much longer can they support Arteta if results don’t improve. It’s clear there is a long-term project at play but this is a results business and Arteta’s position will become untenable if things don’t change quickly!