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Top European Soccer Teams: #6 Arsenal

Arsenal is currently in a scorching hot Champions League qualification race. Each year, the top four teams in the English Premier League earn themselves a ticket to the Champions League. Arsenal will continue to battle with Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Chelsea for the third and fourth spot- the top two spots are currently occupied by Manchester City and Liverpool, who have all but secured entry. Arsenal is no stranger to the Champions League- they have failed to qualify just twice since 1998. Unfortunately, they have never been able to capture the elusive Champions League trophy. Even without this hardware, Arsenal has been a staple in English football since they were founded in 1886. In fact, in 1891, they became the first London football team to turn pro. Today, London (the largest city in England and 24th largest city in the world) is a hub for soccer; Arsenal is one of six EPL teams to call London their home (along with Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace, Fulham, and West Ham United). Arsenal consistently performs among the top teams in the EPL, and the “Gunners” have grown out of their original home- The Royal Arsenal- and into the third largest stadium in England. Arsenal’s rich history has played a key role in their success. Their prominence on and off the field has earned them the #6 spot in FanWide’s European soccer team rankings.

The Arsenal Supporters Club in India is one of the largest Arsenal fan clubs in the world. | Photo courtesy of goal.com

Methodology:

The European soccer scene is unique in that it consists of 5 different comparable leagues. Unlike sports like football and basketball in the USA, which have teams that have competed against each other for years, some European soccer teams might face each other once every five to ten years. Naturally, ranking these teams is a challenge. FanWide’s goal in ranking the top ten European soccer teams was to use metrics that acknowledge the fact that not all teams get a chance to play each other. By using metrics like FanWide’s fan data, the focus in our rankings was split between on and off-field success. As a result, our top ten ranking consists of the most prominent, internationally significant European soccer clubs, accounting for but not solely relying on titles and wins. In the coming weeks, FanWide will be rolling out the top ten, building up to the reveal of the #1 soccer club in Europe. Check out this blog, for a breakdown of the metrics.

European Soccer Top 10:

10. Borussia Dortmund

9. Manchester City

8. Juventus FC

7. Chelsea FC

6. Arsenal

Category Count Soccer Rank
Fan Clubs (FanWide) 80 1
Champions League Wins (all time) 0 10 (tie)
UEFA Player of the Year Top Ten Finalists (since 2014) 0 10 (tie)
Attendance (Average 2018) 59,900 6
Forbes Value (in billions) 2.23 6
Total Social Media Followers (in millions) 64.8 6
Domestic League Titles (all time) 13 8 (tie)
Domestic League Titles (since 2009) 0 13 (tie)

Fan Clubs (according to FanWide): 80 (1st)

Arsenal tops the list with 80 fan clubs in FanWide’s fan club network. This impressive statistic is a testament to their international popularity. Arsenal has become a fan favorite among non-European fans. If you are an Arsenal fan who wants to set up a local fan club in your city, let us know!

All-Time Champions League Wins: 0 (10th-tie)

Arsenal has never been able to hoist the coveted Champions League trophy. Perhaps surprisingly (considering their substantial domestic success), Arsenal has only made the Champions League final once (2005-2006) in the competition’s 64-year history. Fortunately for Arsenal fans today, their finals appearance came on this side of the millennium. While their success on this stage has been absent, Arsenal has remained relevant- when the season begins each year, nobody counts Arsenal out.

UEFA Player of the Year Top Ten Finalists (since 2014): 0 (10th- tie)

Arsenal has not seen a player crack UEFA’s Player of the Year top 10 in the past five years. While they have seen their fair share of stars in their history (Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright, and Robin Van Persie to name a few), none have broken into UEFA’s top ten as of late. The team is currently lead by Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, and Nacho Monreal, all players with significant star power (for example, Ozil played a key part in Germany’s 2016 World Cup winning run) but none with enough to hold the title of UEFA Player of the Year thus far.

Attendance (Average 2018): 59,900 (6th)

Arsenal’s 59,900 average attendees per home match rank them 6th among our top 15. Emirates Stadium (formerly Ashburton Grove) became Arsenal’s home grounds in 2006. Starting in 2009, the club began a campaign of “Arsenalization.” This is a beautification initiative created to make the stadium home for the club and the fans. Even while “The Emirates” is the 3rd largest stadium in England (behind Wembley and Old Trafford), Arsenal’s season-ticket waitlist is currently over 40,000 people long. The numbers clearly suggest that Arsenal has a significant home following, maintaining its fair share of the large London market. Their stadium’s large capacity (about 60,000) has kept fan involvement high thus far, but as Arsenal continues to grow, there will be increasing talk of expansion.

Team Value: 2.23 B (6th)

According to Forbes, Arsenal is worth 2.23 billion USD, making them the sixth most valuable soccer club in the world. This past summer, American billionaire E. Stanley Kroenke took full control of the team after purchasing Alisher Usmanov’s 30% stake in the company at an approximately $2.3 billion USD valuation. The Forbes estimation considers match day revenue, broadcasting deals, merchandise sales, and outstanding debts.

Aggregate Social Media Followers: 64.8 million (6th)

FanWide accounted for Arsenal’s 13 million Instagram followers,  14 million Twitter followers, and 37.8 million Facebook likes in this ranking (as of February 2019). Arsenal has the sixth most aggregate social media followers among soccer clubs in the world. Arsenal is undoubtedly one of the most prominent European soccer teams in the world, and their social media following backs this claim up.

Domestic League Titles (Averaging All Time + Recent Win Rankings): 10th

Arsenal has not won an English football title in the past ten years, but they have won 13 in club history. Competing in one of the most competitive leagues in the world, the English Premier League, Arsenal has a tougher path to domestic league glory than most. Their most recent English title came in the 2003-2004 season, but they have finished in the top three 6 times since. Arsenal. Arsenal is still looking for the next Thierry Henry (the leading goal-scorer in the EPL duri4-year year span of top 2 finishes from 2001-2005) to bring them back to English glory. Until then, Arsenal supporters will be waiting.

Arsenal currently sits at #6 in FanWide’s European soccer club rankings. No matter where you live or travel, you can find Arsenal fan clubs and watch parties near you through FanWide, the world’s largest fan club network.

After you are done checking out the rest of our top 10 European soccer teams, take a look at our top 10 MLB, NBA, and NFL franchises

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