The Premier League 2022/23 season remarkably closed its curtains with the Champions League places recording interesting changes. Three clubs have returned to the competition, while three others have been forced out. Arsenal, Manchester United, and Newcastle United are the notable names to have made impressive comebacks to Europe’s elite competition. Meanwhile, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, and Chelsea FC have dropped out and will have to go again next season. Qualifications for Arsenal and Newcastle makes it more impressive when you consider the last time the two played in the competition. They will surely relish every moment when the curtains of the Champions League unfold next season.
At the beginning of the season, only a handful of pundits thought Arsenal would finish in the top 4. Given their run of form in the last 7 years, the much Arsenal could have been awarded this year was a spot in the Europa League. It, therefore, surprised many when Arsenal gave a proper title chase and finished 2nd, only missing out on the title in the dying embers of the season. No one gave Newcastle United the benefit of the doubt despite showing promise after the Eddie Howe takeover. Last season the Magpies were fighting for dear life in the relegation zone, and to make such a comeback in little time is no mean feat. Howe’s men have played impressively the whole season and rightfully deserved their fourth-spot finish.
This will be the first time in 6 years that Arsenal will play in the Champions League. Arsene Wenger was the last manager to play in the competition, and that was back in the 2016/17 season. Mikel Arteta has, therefore, done an impressive job in bringing back the Gunners to the Champions League.
Since 2002, Newcastle United has yet to taste Champions League football. It all seemed like a dream until the Arabian takeover that exposed their potential. With Eddie Howe at the helm, Newcastle brushed off competition from Liverpool to secure the spot. All credits have to go to the gaffer for unleashing the beast in these players. Very little has been witnessed in terms of financial injection by the Arabian ownership. To, therefore, pick these group of boys and lead them to a Champions league qualification ranks top with manager of the season displays.
These impressive comebacks will be why both the Gunners and Magpies fans will enjoy UCL nights.
Flowers for the managers
Mikel Arteta deserves his flowers for a job well done. He took over an Arsenal side underperforming domestically and in European competitions. He had to shape his squad and perfect his tactics patiently. Three seasons in, Arsenal gave Manchester City a run for their money in the EPL title race. Furthermore, they have qualified for the competition honourably.
No one would have predicted that Eddie Howe would lead Newcastle United back into the competition so soon. He turned average players like Joelinton and Almiron into superb players who have significantly impacted their results. Adding players like Botman and Bruno Guimares ensured the St James Park outfit competed favourably with EPL greats. In the end, the players secured the qualification at the expense of Liverpool FC.
What it means to the fans
The Emirates and Saint James Park will feel excited when the Champions League anthem is playing next season. They have waited for ages for these special moments to be witnessed again. The aura in the two stadiums will be top-notch as the competition is adored by fans worldwide.
Football is set to be properly enjoyed by the two fan bases. A sell-out of tickets is expected next season as the fans will be back to enjoying football again.
Liverpool in the Europa League
The Reds have again found themselves in the Europa League territory despite finishing second last season. This season, things have gone badly for the Merseyside giants. Finishing in 5th spot, they have only managed a Europa League qualification. The last time they got to a final of the competition, they were dismantled by Unai Emery’s Sevilla FC.
However, Liverpool FC are not amateurs in this competition. They have won it at least twice in their history. Most of their key players are likely stay, a massive boost for Jurgen Klopp. If he can then be able to keep most of them fit throughout next season, he has a strong potential to add another European trophy to his tally. The gaffer will aim to outshine all the other clubs on Thursday nights to bring the trophy back to Anfield.
The upcoming European season is set to offer massive entertainment to fans in both the Champions League and Europa League competitions. We now wait to see if the coveted silverware pieces will return to England.