Pressure is reaching its peak at the Emirates Stadium, where Arsenal are preparing for an end-of-season run-in that could go one of two ways.
The Gunners currently sit ninth in the Premier League and face the prospect of failing to qualify for any European competition for the first time since 1996.
ArsenalNewsReview has been there for every step of a difficult campaign for the club, which could see the Gunners record their lowest top-flight finish in 26 years.
In fact, some bookmakers have Arsenal priced at odds as high as 250/1 to turn the tide and somehow rescue European qualification this season. Four points separate the north Londoners from local rivals Tottenham Hotspur in sixth, and chances to climb are running out with only two games left to play. Everton (eighth) are among those teams at shorter odds by UK bookies to clinch sixth, a sign of how far the Gunners have fallen since Arsene Wenger left the club in 2018.
Mikel Arteta—who lifted the FA Cup in his first season as a manager—knew a Europa League comeback at home to Villarreal was the best chance and critical to extending Arsenal’s hopes of extending their 25-year streak in Europe.
But the top-six race isn’t the only betting market currently running against the club, with Arteta himself among the favourite Premier League managers to lose their job next.
The Spaniard is available at odds as low as 6/1 to be the next manager relieved of his duties in England’s top flight, with a bottom-half finish still possible depending on upcoming results.
Only Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson (7/2) and Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp (11/2) offer shorter returns to be the next Premier League chiefs fired. However, the latter’s job seems secure given he’s won both the domestic league and Champions League titles in the past two seasons, leaving Arteta even closer to the base of the pile.
The BBC recently remarked on the Europa League semi-final against Arsenal predecessor Unai Emery as a make-or-break moment for Arteta, who has failed to improve much upon the team he inherited.
Yet despite their shortcomings in the league campaign and a downward spiral in form, Arsenal will have Arteta in charge next season, according to Eurosport. Rather than twist again, it appears the Gunners are willing to put faith in their former midfielder and commit to his vision, which has players like Alexandre Lacazette convinced there is success to come in the near future.
It was under Arteta’s former boss, Arsene Wenger, that Arsenal once qualified for the Champions League in19 consecutive seasons (1998-2017), not to mention winning three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups. This has been the club’s fourth consecutive campaign outside the Champions League, while 2021-22 will be the fifth.
Now, Wenger’s old protege has his back against the wall hoping to mimic some of that success in his first senior managerial role, but the odds are not in Arsenal’s favour entering the home stretch.