HomeTop NewsKey UEFA rule change helps Arsenal dodge dreaded Europa League scenario

Key UEFA rule change helps Arsenal dodge dreaded Europa League scenario

Key UEFA rule change helps Arsenal dodge dreaded Europa League scenario

Arsenal has already experienced a positive impact from one adjustment made to the Europa League setup this season.

Additionally, another modification prevents the recurrence of a potentially disastrous situation.

In the previous season, Arsenal didn’t participate in any European competition due to their poor performance in the Premier League, finishing in eighth place.


Consequently, they were unaffected by UEFA’s announcement about significant changes to the Europa League format for its 51st edition, which are listed below:

“The group stage has been reduced from 48 to 32 teams – eight groups of four. The eight group winners progress automatically to the round of 16. There will be additional knockout round play-offs prior to the round of 16; these will be between the eight UEFA Europa League group runners-up and the eight third-ranked teams from the UEFA Champions League groups.”

The modifications made to the Europa League format gave it a similar feel to that of the Champions League, but only for the group winners. The new changes allowed them to skip two games that were previously part of the round of 32 stage. Meanwhile, the eight runners-up have to face a knockout play-off tie, and the third-placed teams are transferred to the Europa Conference League.

As Arsenal finished at the top of their Europa League group, which consisted of PSV Eindhoven, FK Bodo/Glimt, and FC Zurich, they were able to enjoy the benefits of the competition’s new changes. They received a bye to the round of 16, where they were drawn against Sporting CP.

In tonight’s first-leg match, which is away from home, Arsenal would have had a motivation to score at least one goal in Portugal to increase their chances of making it to the quarter-finals in the past.

However, the rules have changed since the last time Mikel Arteta’s team was involved in the knockout stage of the tournament. The away goals rule, which used to be applied to determine the winner of a two-legged knockout tie in situations where the two teams had scored the same number of goals on aggregate over the two matches, has been removed.

This rule was abolished at the start of the 2021/22 season.

In the past decade, the away goals rule has caused Arsenal some heartache. The most heartbreaking incident occurred in the Champions League when, despite winning 2-0 away at AS Monaco, they were eliminated at the last-16 stage as Monaco scored three goals at the Emirates Stadium.

More recently, in the 2019/2020 season, the Gunners were knocked out by Olympiacos in the Europa League round of 32 tie. The match ended 2-2 on aggregate after extra time, and Olympiacos progressed because of the away goals rule, with Youssef El-Arabi scoring in the 119th minute.

Now that the away goals rule has been scrapped, Arsenal cannot be eliminated from the Europa League this season due to the away goals rule. UEFA has confirmed how knockout ties will be resolved if the two teams are tied at the end of the second leg.

“Ties in which the two teams score the same number of goals over the two legs are no longer decided on the number of goals scored away,” a statement reads. “Instead, two 15-minute periods of extra-time are played at the end of the second leg. If the teams score the same number of goals or no goals during this extra time, a penalty shoot-out determines the team that qualifies for the next stage of the competition.”

This implies that the only favorable outcome for Arsenal in Lisbon is a win. In the past, a 1-1 draw in the away leg followed by a goalless draw at home was enough to qualify for the next round. However, in the current format, this outcome would lead to an additional 30 minutes and the potential for a penalty shootout.

Key UEFA rule change helps Arsenal dodge dreaded Europa League scenario

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