Arsenal finished the 2021/22 season in fifth place and returned to the Europa League after a two-year absence.
Despite sometimes being looked down upon, the competition offers its fair share of benefits.
Arsenal are back in Europe for the first time in what feels like forever. While it’s not the competition we wanted, the Europa League still has its perks.
Many have laughed off Arsenal competing in the Europa League next season as often it is looked at as a second-rate competition.
Still, it is far from that, and it offers players yet another competition on the continental stage to showcase their talents.
Here are three benefits of the Gunners competing in the Europa League next season.
1. More playing time for squad players
This is the obvious one. Last season, we saw William Saliba loaned out specifically because Arsenal did not have enough games to play.
Once a week in the league was not enough, given that the club was knocked out of the FA by the Premier League-bound Nottingham Forest.
While players like Saliba, Albert Sambi Lokonga, and Rob Holding will see more game time, it also provides opportunities for some of the club’s academy players to get valuable exposure to first-team football.
Players like Arthur Okonkwo, Charlie Patino, Catalin Cirjan, Ben Cottrell, Omari Hutchinson, Miguel Azeez, and Marcelo Flores could benefit from seeing minutes at different stages of the season.
We saw Cottrell and Patino get minutes in the domestic cups last season, and add in an extra competition; they could be seeing more game time in 2022.
2. Increases the finances
While the finances aren’t in the same ballpark as the Champions League, Arsenal will profit from playing in the Europa League next season.
Per sportingnews.com, all 32 clubs participating in the competition get a nice £3.34 million as an entry bonus, then £579,54 for a win and £193,20 for a draw.
If Arsenal win their group, another £1.01 million will be coming their way.
We expect the club to make it beyond the group stage, and that is where the money increases.
Should the Gunners make it to at least the quarterfinals, they will bank a minimum of £1.65 million, which rises to £7.90 million if they win the competition.
Now, compared to the Champions League, these are rookie numbers. But it’s more money than what Arsenal have earned the previous two seasons. Any extra income is greatly appreciated at this stage.
It might not seem like it is worth it, but the fact is the club has a chance to increase its money from the competition, one that many would expect them to go far in.
3. Another gateway into the Champions League
One that perhaps gets overlooked by some. With other clubs in the Premier League sure to strengthen, the battle for the top-four will be even tighter than last season.
It presents a significant challenge, especially considering that Arsenal now will play in an extra competition.
As we know, the winners of the Europa League punch their ticket into the Champions League for next season, like Eintracht Frankfurt did this previous season after they defeated Rangers in the final.
With so much pressure during the league season, Arsenal will still have a “get out of jail” card to qualify for the Champions League.
While not ideal, as we would ideally like to finish inside the top four regardless, the fact that there are now two ways in which the club can qualify is a bonus.
As we saw in 2019/20, the final was a chance for the Gunners to claim a Champions League spot miraculously.
After finishing eighth in the league table, there was still an opportunity to return to Europe’s premier club competition.
As we know, the club failed, and another eighth-place finish followed in 2020/21.
While it is unconventional for Arsenal not to qualify for the Champions League by getting into the top four as we had become accustomed to under Arsene Wenger, now we are looking at any way to get back.
The Europa League provides the club with that opportunity.