The latest UEFA rankings have come out this afternoon and Arsenal have dropped to 9th place, being leap frogged by both Atletico Madrid and Valencia.
With Manchester United and Valencia unlikely to qualify for next years Champions League, Arsenal’s real position is 7th. With Porto on their way out and AC Milan not only out but sitting 11th in Serie A, Arsenal will not have a problem.
A few thoughts however come to mind. With PSG and Dortmund rising, Arsenal need a big season sooner rather than later where they reach the semi-finals. Or a few seasons of consistently getting into the quarter finals. Failure to do so would see Arsenal in the second seed of teams.
Is being in the second seed a problem though? If all league’s finished now, the second pot of the Champions league next season would look like:
Not exactly ‘easy’. Meanwhile, you could drop out of the top 8 and draw Benfica or Porto. Porto/Benfica, or Dortmund/PSG/Juventus?
Yes, being top seeds is favourable, but considering the strength in depth in European football this season, it does not make a massive difference.
You only have to look at some statistics from this years competition to see how little difference it makes:
- Of the 16 teams who qualified for the knock out stages, 6 came from Pot 1, 4 from Pot 2, 6 from Pot 3.
- Just 5 of the 8 top seeded teams won their group
- The split in the QF was 5 from the top seed pot, 3 not
Like Atletico have shown this year, and Dortmund in previous years, if you are good enough ,you will progress, no matter who you play.
The second noticeable aspect is with regards to the Europa League. Benfica have leapfrogged Arsenal in the rankings. This despite being knocked out of the Champions League. Arsenal made the knock out stages, and played Bayern Munich.
Benfica got knocked out, and have since gained points by playing PAOK, Tottenham and AZ Alkmaar. In UEFA’s attempt to encourage teams to take the Europa League seriously (by offering a high number of coefficient points for the next years Champions League) they have created a scenario where failure is rewarded. Benfica get to play easier teams, and have extra games (Europa League has 5 knock out rounds v CL’s 4) by virtue of being failures in the Champions League. Surely for it to be fair, those sides knocked out in the Champions League should receive no more coefficient points?
Finally, when looking through the list, you notice how insignificant the furore is made on twitter about Arsenal’s drop to 9th;
AC Milan – 11th
Inter Milan – 13th
Juventus – 17th
Ajax – 30th
Liverpool – 32nd
These are massive sides.
So we are down to 9th. Not only does it make little difference to next years Champions League draw, being potentially in the 2nd pot makes little difference in future draw.s