The last time Arsenal progressed beyond the Round of 16 in the Champions League was in 2010 where they were the eliminated by a world-class Barcelona side inspired by a certain little Argentinian. Since then, Arsenal have gone out at the first knock-out stage every year.Barcelona, Milan, Bayern Munich (twice) and Monaco. It’s fair to say that we have been found out on the biggest stage.
For the last five years we’ve finished second in our group, resulting in the trickiest of draws. While Bayern and Barca were excusable, Monaco was straight from the shelf of Bradford and Birmingham. When the draw was made, it was the dream for Arsenal having finished as runners up yet again. We got lucky, chosen to face relative European minnows Monaco. Arsene Wenger’s men were hot favourites to reach the quarter finals, in fact.
Little did we know what would follow. The Gunners had their typical breakdown and quite emphatically lost the plot. We lost 1-3 at home and Olivier Giroud had one of his most embarrassing nights. In typical Arsenal fashion we fought back to win the reverse fixture only to lose the tie on away goals.
It has been the trend in Europe for Arsenal in recent seasons. Lose heavily in the first leg, salvage pride in the return leg but ultimately fail to progress. Arsene Wenger has to address this issue as Arsenal have too much quality to be eliminated in the Round of 16. Alexis Sanchez after the FA Cup victory said that he was disappointed not to go far in Europe. A player of his calibre deserves more, a team of our calibre deserves more.
No more going down fighting. Arsenal are in an upward curve at the moment and it’s important the players deliver when needed. No more excuses, Arsenal have to perform in Europe next term.