Champions League 2023/24: Can Arsenal compete with Europe’s big guns?

By on July 31, 2023

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The qualification rounds for the Champions League are already underway. Teams from countries all over Europe are battling it out to book their place in the group stages of the competition, where the biggest teams from the best league’s will join having already secured their places in the lucrative group stages.

Supporters are anticipating another enthralling European campaign and demand for champions league tickets is as strong as every. The European Cup is the pinnacle of the footballing calendar each season and all top class players want to be part of the competition, so it’s no wonder there is so much interest in the Champions League.

Arsenal back in the big time

Arsenal have booked their return to Europe’s elite competition after a five-year hiatus. The Gunners have been slogging it out in the Europa League in recent years and even went a season without any European football altogether. However, Mikel Arteta has overhauled the squad over the past two-to-three years and has build a team that’s capable of competing with the very best again.

Arsenal’s main objective last season was to finish in the top four so they could look forward to playing in the Champions League again. Not only was it vital financially due to the money that’s brought in from being in the Champions League, but it was also important so they could attract more top quality players. Not only did the Gunner achieve their main aim, they surpassed it as Arsenal mounted a sustained title challenge and were Manchester City’s only genuine competition in the Premier League last season.

The North Londoners sat top of the table for almost 250 days, showing they have what it takes to mix it with the likes of Man City again, but they narrowly missed out on the title in the end. Arsenal will need a much bigger squad to cope with competing on all fronts this coming season and that’s something Arteta is focussing on in the summer transfer window. Arsenal only really had the league to deal with last season but they’ll want to make an impression in the Champions League, so more depth is required.

Arteta has added some much needed depth to his ranks this summer after bringing in Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber. And the lure of playing in the Champions League would have been important in the players decision to head to the Emirates Stadium. Would Rice have chosen Arsenal over Man City if the Gunners didn’t finish in the top four? NO! So it was vital they qualified for the competition to allow Arteta the chance to secure his prime transfer targets.

The Gunners are currently priced as the 11/1 sixth favourites to win the Champions League in 2023/24, and those odds show that they must be taken seriously again despite their lack of to level European football in recent years. If Arsenal get a kind draw in the group stages and make it through to the knockout rounds, then anything can happen. Not many teams will want to face the Gunners over two legs, so they could be dark horses in the competition.


However, Arsenal know they are going to be up against several top quality teams. Manchester City are the team to beat after lifting their first Champions League trophy with a 1-0 win over Inter Milan back in early June. Rodri scored the only goal of the game to win the European Cup for City and complete an historic treble for Pep Guardiola’s men. City are the 2/1 favourites to retain the trophy in the 2023/24 campaign, so it’s clear the bookies think the English giants are going to take some stopping.

However, very few teams are able to successfully defend the Champions League title so it’s going to be a tough task for Manchester City to repeat last year’s heroics. It’s taken City this long to get their hands on the trophy after several near misses, so despite their favourites tag, it would still be a monumental achievement if they were to secure back-to-back Champions League victories.

Bayern Munich are always among the favourites as they have huge pedigree in Europe. The Bundesliga champions are priced at 7/1 and those odds will surely shorten if they are successful in signing Harry Kane from Tottenham. Bayern didn’t replace Robert Lewandowski following his move to Barcelona last summer but Kane would be a sensational coup if the Germans can agree a deal with Spurs this summer. Kane’s goals could be the difference in making Bayern a serious threat in the Champions League.

Real Madrid are also European royalty and they are currently the 8/1 third favourites to win the trophy once again in 2023/24. The Spanish giants were knocked out by Man City in the semi-finals last season and they were well beaten over the two legs. So Madrid will be out to avenge that defeat by going at least one better to reach the final this year. They’ve splashed out big money to sign Jude Bellingham and are favourites to sign Kylian Mbappe. If they could land the Frenchman this summer, then Madrid would arguably be the team to beat next season.


Paris Saint-Germain are in a state of disarray right now with Mbappe’s future hanging over the club. They want to sell to avoid losing him for nothing next summer and the 24-year-old will be a huge loss if he does depart. Lionel Messi has already left while Neymar is constantly on the treatment table, so it’s no surprise the Ligue 1 giants have decided to rebuild their squad with a focus on youth rather than big-names. It’s going to take some time to implement so I don’t see PSG being serious challengers for the Champions League, and odds of 12/1 seems about right.

You can also get 12/1 on Barcelona winning the Champions League and I think they have a lot more chance than PSG. Xavi led Barca to the La Liga title last season and they have one of the meanest defences in Europe, so they’ll be hard to beat this season. They’ve also signed Ilkay Gundogan from City and if they could bring in a few more quality players, they could be dark horses in the Champions League.

Manchester United are priced at 14/1 and they could be ones to watch as Erik ten Hag is building a solid side at Old Trafford. Andre Onana will be an excellent signing for them while Rasmus Hojland could solve their striker issues up front. With Mason Mount already added to strengthen the midfield, United could make a real impression in Europe this season.

After the ‘big 7’, Napoli are probably the most dangerous side and they’re priced at 20/1. Last years beaten finalists Inter Milan are 33/1 outsiders along with the likes of Newcastle and Atletico Madrid.

There are lots of quality teams to contend with in the Champions League this season but Arsenal will be quietly confident they can hold their own as they prepare to join Europe’s elite once again.