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Football Reporting


Arsenal without European competition ‘doesn’t feel right’, says Leno

The Gunners face missing out on qualification for continental football next season for the first time since 1995-96

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno says the idea that the Gunners might not play European football next season “doesn’t feel right”, and that the job of the players is to make sure the club is where it “belongs”.

The last season Arsenal were not involved in European football was 1995-96, after they finished 12th in the Premier League the previous season, but a 25-year run in continental competition is now in serious danger as they suffer another poor season.

Gunners number one Leno says a lack of European football is unthinkable for the team, but that, unless the players raise their game, it might soon be reality.

What did Leno say?

Speaking at a press conference ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League quarter-final second-leg meeting with Slavia Prague on Thursday night, Leno said: “When you think of a future without Arsenal in European competition, it doesn’t feel right. Our job is to make sure it doesn’t come true.

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“Arsenal belongs to Europe and that’s our target. That’s our job.”

Will Arsenal miss out on Europe?

Arsenal are currently ninth in the Premier League, with only the top seven at most playing in Europe in 2021-22. They are 10 points off the top four, and the Champions League qualification places, while they trail seventh-placed rivals Tottenham by four points.

Should they fail to qualify for Europe via the league, Arsenal’s only other option is winning the Europa League, which would guarantee them passage to the Champions League next season.

This is a tough ask, after they drew 1-1 at home in the first leg with Slavia Prague, the Czech side netting a stoppage-time equaliser and away goal at Emirates Stadium.

Last season, Arsenal qualified for Europe thanks to winning the FA Cup – but having been knocked out earlier this season by Southampton, the options are running out fast for Mikel Arteta’s men.

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