What is the Europa Conference League and how can Arsenal qualify

Arsenal could qualify for the Europa Conference League
Arsenal could qualify for the Europa Conference League (Picture: Getty)

Despite overseeing a largely disappointing campaign, a run of four consecutive victories has given Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta an outside chance of qualifying his team for Europe next season.

West Ham’s comeback victory against West Brom on Wednesday evening means the Gunners are now unable to claim a Europa League position and will finish behind their east London rivals for the first time in Premier League history.

Arsenal required two injury time goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Nicolas Pepe to spoil Roy Hodgson’s final game in charge of Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, and the three points just about keeps alive their hopes of finishing seventh and entry in the Europa Conference League.

The winner of the Carabao Cup was guaranteed to qualify for the Conference League play-off round. But after Manchester City lifted the trophy – having already secured a place in the Champions League qualifying spot – their place will be passed on to the next highest-ranked Premier League side which has not qualified for a UEFA competition.

In order for Arsenal to qualify for Europe’s new third tier competition, the Gunners must beat Brighton on the final day, and hope Tottenham and Everton fail to win their matches against Leicester and Man City, respectively.

Two goals from Nicolas Pepe helped Arsenal record their fourth straight win and seal a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace
Two goals from Nicolas Pepe helped Arsenal record their fourth straight win and seal a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace (Picture: Getty)

The Conference League, meanwhie, has been introduced so clubs from more national associations are involved in UEFA competitions.

At least 34 nations will be represented in the group stage of the three competitions, with 12 domestic champions set to feature in the Europa Conference League.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said recently: ‘The new UEFA club competition makes UEFA’s club competitions more inclusive than ever before. There will be more matches for more clubs, with more associations represented in the group stages.’

Games will be played on Thursday nights and the winner of the competition will gain automatic entry in the following season’s Europa League.

The venue for the inaugural final has already been selected with the Arena Kombetare, which boasts a capacity of 22,500, in Albania set to play host.

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