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Arsenal guarantee return to Europe with derby victory over West Ham & remain in Champions League hunt

2:10 AM SGT 2/5/22
Gabriel Granit Xhaka West Ham vs Arsenal Premier League 2021-22
The Gunners missed out on continental competition completely in 2021-22, but Mikel Arteta’s side have rediscovered a spark in the current campaign

Arsenal will be gracing a continental stage of some description in 2022-23, with a derby victory over West Ham guaranteeing European qualification for the Gunners.

A side that has grown accustomed to competing among the elite has endured a humbling fall of grace in 2021-22.

An eighth-place finish last season meant that European football was removed entirely from their schedule in the current campaign, with focus being narrowed on domestic matters.

Will Arsenal be in Europe next season?

After taking in an enforced absence, Arsenal know that they will be back among the cream of Europe’s crop next term.

A 2-1 victory over London neighbours West Ham saw the Gunners over that particular line.

A narrow win in the East End took Mikel Arteta’s side to 63 points from 34 games and left them 14 clear of Wolves in eighth.

The men from Molineux only have four fixtures left to take in this season, meaning that the best they can manage in terms of overall output is 62 points.

Arsenal are also guaranteed to finish higher than seventh-placed West Ham, who sit on 52 points with only nine left to play for.

That means Europa Conference League football can be wiped out, with the Gunners destined for the Europa League at worst.

Will Arsenal qualify for the Champions League?

Sights are being set higher than that at Emirates Stadium, with a top-four finish still very much on the cards.

Arsenal have spent five years outside of a Champions League party, but return tickets are almost within reach.

With Manchester United struggling for consistency, arch-rivals Tottenham are realistically the only side that can prevent them from hitting an ultimate target.

Arsenal are currently sat two points clear of their fiercest foes and have a potentially crucial derby date with Spurs to come on May 12.

It may be that they can still overhaul third-placed Chelsea this season, with the Blues only three points better off as things stand, but positive steps are being taken by Arteta’s men regardless of what happens from here.

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