Arsenal Confirm Champions League Qualification for 17th Consecutive Year

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 28:  Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates as he scores their third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on April 28, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Arsenal have confirmed their spot in next season's Champions League after Everton fell to Manchester City 3-2 on Saturday. 

For Arsene Wenger and his squad, the Gunners' successful progression ensures an 17th consecutive appearance in Europe's elite competition, confirmed by the EPL's official Twitter feed:


Although leading the Premier League title race for much of the season's first half, many Arsenal fans are likely to be content with finishing fourth. Things appeared much bleaker on March 6, when Everton demolished the North London outfit 3-0 at Goodison Park, a result that placed Arsenal's Champions League spot in real jeopardy.

Four wins on the bounce signal a return to form. Arsenal got back on track in the domestic division by scoring three in each of their matches against West Ham, Hull and Newcastle, conceding just one goal to the Hammers. Although expected to emerge victorious in each match, Wenger will be pleased with his team's ability to overcome an embarrassing loss to the Toffees.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26:  Theo Walcott of Arsenal breaks with the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Arsenal and Olympique de Marseille at Emirates Stadium on November 26, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Wenger hasn't led his team beyond the Champions League round of 16 in the past four seasons. Bayern Munich knocked Arsenal out of this year's competition and also ended their hopes the year before. Prior to this, Barcelona toppled the English side at the same stage in 2010-11, with Milan repeating the feat during the following season.

Arsenal's best result in the tournament came in the 2005-06 campaign. Wenger guided his side—who once again finished fourth in the Premier League—to the European final, where Barcelona came from behind to capture the trophy with a 2-1 scoreline at the Stade de France.

Sol Campbell opened proceedings with a powerful header in the 37th minute, but as the second half wore on, Barcelona's dominance emerged. Samuel Eto'o levelled with 14 minutes to go, before Juliano Belletti proved to be an unlikely winner inside the final 10 minutes. Unfortunately for Arsenal, their strategy was majorly undone when Jens Lehmann received a red card with 18 minutes on the clock.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22:  Jakub Blaszczykowski of Borussia Dortmund and Kieran Gibbs of Arsenal battle for the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Arsenal and  Borussia Dortmund at Emirates Stadium on October 22, 2013 in Londo
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Prior to Everton's defeat, Wenger revealed it would be a major "relief" to secure next season's Champions League berth without further prolonging confirmation, reported by Adrian Kajumba of the Daily Star.

The French boss can now lead his side into May 17th's FA Cup final without the pressure of needing results. This provides Wenger with the time needed to ensure his key players are well-rested and ready to battle against a tricky Hull outfit.

Wenger will be hoping success in the English cup can inspire his team to push on during next season's European stint. Arsenal have come close to winning the Champions League without ever securing the trophy, suggesting it remains the clubs holy grail heading into next term.