Are Arsenal serious contenders to win the Champions League?

Are Arsenal serious contenders to win the Champions League?

Arsenal saw off a tricky challenge from Spanish heavyweights Sevilla in their Champions League Group B matchday three encounter on Tuesday night.

The Gunners had won only three of their last 17 matches on the road against La Liga sides in all competitions, with their previous such victory coming against Valencia in 2019.

However, the 2-1 success over the reigning Europa League title holders sent a strong statement of their Champions League ambitions.

Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus gave the Gunners a two-goal lead, but things took a nervy turn when Nemanja Gudelj pulled one back just before the hour mark.

However, Mikel Arteta’s side remained resilient to see out the victory at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium and the first triumph on the road in the tournament since December 2016.

The Gunners have put themselves in a promising position to qualify for the knockout rounds with three games to spare, and you can buy Champions League tickets at Seatsnet.com to follow their progress through the tournament.

The Champions League campaign so far

Arsenal kicked off their Champions League campaign with a resounding 4-0 victory over Eredivisie giants PSV Eindhoven, marking their return to the tournament after a six-year absence.

However, they were under a bit of pressure heading into matchday three, having lost their previous Champions League outing against Ligue 1 strugglers RC Lens earlier this month.

The Gunners fell to defeat despite taking the lead through Jesus, but an unfortunate injury to superstar winger Bukayo Saka marked the beginning of their downfall in France.

Suffice it to say another defeat against Sevilla could have had devastating consequences for their chances of making it out of Group B.

However, Arteta’s side defied the odds to emerge victorious, announcing themselves as one of several contenders for the prestigious trophy.

The magnitude of the result was not lost on Arteta, whose post-match comments acknowledged the importance of maximum points after admitting his side were in a difficult position before kick-off.

“Yes, but that’s the difficulty of winning in the Champions League, and it shows how much we have to value that,” the Spaniard said in the post-match press conference.”

“That result against Lens put us in a difficult position, and the team had to react.

“We are coming from the back of very difficult games where the team has to step in and go against adversity as well with some of the injuries that we picked to big players. 

“The team is so willing to at least try their best even if we don’t manage to be our best all the time.”

Lens and PSV settled for a share of the spoils in the other Group B fixture, helping Arsenal establish themselves at the top of the group.

They have taken six points from their initial three games, sitting one point ahead of Lens and three above Sevilla and PSV.

After drawing first blood in Spain, Arteta’s side will welcome Sevilla to the Emirates Stadium for the reverse fixture, where another victory over the Europa League winners will guarantee a top-three finish in Group B.

Reaching the Champions League round of 16 will undoubtedly be the initial objective for the Gunners, at which point questions surrounding their ability to go all the way will become stronger.

Nine points could be enough to seal a place in the last 16, but consolidating their spot at the summit of Group B will be paramount when Sevilla visit North London.

Winning the tournament immediately after a six-year absence seems like an unlikely task on paper, but the Champions League is famous for delivering the unthinkable, and anything is possible from the last 16.

Are Arsenal serious contenders for the title?

Arteta has made a minor tweak to his system this season, perhaps in response to their untimely fall from their Premier League summit at the back end of last season.

Rather than being as hectic or frantic in their attacking approach as last season, the Gunners have adopted a more controlled style of play, which has contributed to their unbeaten start to the Premier League season.

Their impressive form has earned commendation from several figures in the game, with Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino hailing the Gunners as contenders for the Premier League and Champions League this season.

“Yes, it is going to be tough because they are doing a great job,” Pochettino said ahead of the entertaining 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

“Very good squad, very good team. They are playing so well, they are a contender for everything to win, not only the Premier League, for the Champions League.”

Since his appointment in December 2019, Arteta has transformed the Gunners into formidable contenders in various competitions, with the Champions League representing the latest addition to their ambitious agenda.

Arsenal have never won Europe’s premier club competition, with their closest attempt dating back to 2006 when they lost the final to five-time champions Barcelona in Paris.

Winning the competition will be a mammoth task, particularly when considering that many of the club’s players have limited experience in navigating the rigorous demands of this prestigious tournament.

However, Arteta’s squad boasts an abundance of talent, and as the unpredictable nature of knockout football has demonstrated time and again, unexpected triumphs are not beyond the realm of possibility. 

Former Manchester United striker Michael Owen is among those who believe the Gunners have enough to be optimistic about their chances.

“I think this Arsenal team on ability, on what they do week-to-week, are one of, if not Manchester City’s biggest challenge in this competition. I think they’re that good,” Owen said.

However, the 43-year-old recognises that a lack of experience could be their Achilles heel.

“The problem is, and as Man City have shown, the very good teams in the league if it’s your first time in the competition it can take you a long time to understand it, to get past these experienced teams, I think that’s what Arsenal might find this season.”


Arteta’s primary objective will be to steer his side through the group stage. With two wins from three fixtures, the Gunners find themselves in a favourable position to advance to the next phase of the tournament.

It is important for the Gunners to be realistic about their chances of success in the competition this season, but mounting a genuine challenge for Champions League glory should be on their long-term agenda.

Balancing their Champions League commitments with their Premier League schedule will be challenging, and they could be forced to prioritise their objectives for the campaign.

While whispers of a potential Champions League campaign have circulated, dethroning Man City in both competitions might be a goal slightly ahead of its time for the Gunners, despite their impressive start.

Knockout football is famous for delivering delicious surprises, but it is far too early to definitively assert whether Arsenal are sufficiently equipped and prepared to mount a genuine title challenge across all fronts.

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