Arsenal Are Poor In Europe

 Today we have a guest post by Double  Canister.

Never won the European Cup, Right? Well, until 1992 teams had to win the league to enter it.

My hypothesis here is to argue that apart from the bleedin’ obvious fact that yes we have not won it (and thank you koppites, for reminding us of the fact every 5 minutes) Arsenal have not been too shabby in this Competition. In fact I will argue that Arsenal have very often run into the eventual winners of the competition, and given them a bloody nose in the process to think about.

England is an insular place; however since the European Cup was founded in 1955 English teams have entered, albeit half-heartedly in the early years. The FA cup was seen as far more glorious than some Johnny Foreigner concoction.

Chelsea won the league in ’55 and believe it or not but the FA asked them not to play the European Cup.

Manu and the tinies reached semi-finals in the early years of the tournament, but did not appear to be that happy about it, United’s tragic air crash in Munich seemed to put off the appetite for the competition in Britain for a while.

Unfortunately Arsenal’s chances of entering were severely limited because of a domestic downturn in our footballing fortunes compared to the great years of the 30’s. Adolf and Benito had also decided to change the football landscape of Europe in the late 30’s and 40’s so I’ll skip that bit. United and even bloody Wolves (!) entered a few times each in the 50’s but didn’t have much luck, to say the least in United’s tragic case.

The 60’s Arsenal side were nowhere near European football. Arsenal’s big chance with the double twinning team in ’71-’72 was no disgrace. They reached the QF and got beaten by Ajax 2-1(a) and 0-1(h) but it was Ajax’s greatest ever team that beat us. No surprises Ajax went on to win the old big ears against an also superb Benfica.

Then we enter the weird era as I call it, this is when for some very strange reasons English teams were regular winners of this completion whilst being utterly pants as a national team. When the Cup seemed to be used as a prop to hold up the charity shield by English clubs in the late 70’s to 80’s again Arsenal’s domestic form was wanting and we couldn’t get in on the party. Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest are the only English side I consider really worthy of holding the European Cup with dignity during this time.

In ‘89 we were not allowed in. The bastards from Merseyside got everyone banned from European competitions so we will never know how good GG’s side could really have been. The behavior of some gooners in Copenhagen was less than gentlemanly too.

In ‘91 – ’92 it was UEFA’s new exploratory group stage format but we got knocked out by Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Benfica in extra time, despite Colin Pates scoring (?, no, me neither). Benfica had Rui Costa and a certain Stefan Schwartz who looked good at the time. Fergie pretty much owned the early years of the PL before the Champions League format was created but despite this Arsenal have managed to enter the completion 16 times, and even with winning 3 domestic titles under Wenger.

Now let’s look at the details of Wenger’s CL efforts.

The first 3 years when we played group stages in Wembley I will discount – this was a revenue generator to fund the new stadium and a tester to see if there really was demand for 60,000 plus capacity for more Arsenal supporters. In reality, Arsenal were very unfamiliar with the idea of group stage European football and it showed. Being homesick for the cup night atmosphere normally created at Highbury didn’t help either.

People look back now at the perceived weakness of the teams that Arsenal played in those groups and could think we should have rolled them over, but Hunter13 is right – Wenger has raised the bar of expectations at this club so far by now it is hard to look back and see how weak some of the players he inherited were (and I admit, some of the ones he initially bought).

From ’85 to ’04 no English teams were good enough to reach a final, with the singular pox-bottling exception of Sir* Bacon Face’s shower of nasties in ’99 who mugged-off Bayern. Following this era, when teams fitness levels, running pace and passing speeds hugely increased, (guessing a lot of drugs , anyone?) the CL basically turned into a round robin of English teams reaching the final plus the odd Barca, Milan, Madrid effort to win it and where it was perceived that throwing several hundred million euro at the club squad budget was the only way to win it, or in the English teams cases having a Foreign manager and needing to have the key, nay THE ESSENTIAL match wining players in the team being from continent Europe.

Many Gooners moan that Arsenal have had year after year of unlucky draws in this completion after the group stages. I am one of them. We have often come up against some of the the strongest teams in the completion at early stages and been knocked out by the eventual winner or runner up, even after Arsenal giving them a game far better than the team they meet in the final.

In the Early Wenger Era this is what transpired:

’99 & ’00 were learning experiences in the group stages and we ended up on a long detour into the UEFA Cup.

’01, we got beaten only on the away goals rule, in the QF by Rafa’s quality Valencia side who went on to the final and lost to Munich on penalties. 

’02 Real Madrid beat Leverkusen and in ’03 Milan beat Juve

’02 & ’03 was the crazy second group stage idea, results against Deportivo done us on ’02 and then Valencia did the damage in ’03. (Thanks again Rafa). The decisive games leading up to the final that year were strongly dominated by the big Italian teams. 

In the Pre-Paris era we saw a build-up of European momentum in the club:

’04 Porto beat Monaco.  Maureen is let loose on the world.

’05 Liverpool beat Milan. The 3rd biggest fluke of all time. (See Manure vs. Munich ’99 for the 2nd).

The run in the Champions league from ‘03-‘04 to Paris in ’05-‘06 showed that Wenger was building from strength to strength in the competition.

Thanks to Wayne Bridge (seriously WTF?) we got knocked out at the QF in ’04 by the blues. The Chavs were done by Monaco and then Moe felt he was very special when Porto won the bloody thing, and not in a beautiful way. The Squid, our former useless CB was in this final on the loosing side.

’05 was Munich beating us in the first leg at their home which did the damage. However – if we got another goal in the last 24 minutes the Bavarians would have been out on the away goal rule. Chelsea beat them in 2 ridiculous games, and then Liverpool fluked their way to Istanbul.

I don’t need to tell anyone here how we got to Paris.

Since our last (yes, and so far only) CL final this results have happened:

Milan ’07 beat Liverpool. Arsenal lost against PSV in R16 because of a late winner. Liverpool Beat PSV. Everybody blames Denilson, but not Fabrigas. The Arsenal team were a shadow of the team from the Finals of the year before, serious rebuilding was afoot which was coming along very nicely until in February 2008 when Eduardo was murdered. Only slightly exaggerating there. Arsenal fucked-up but it was a season of such high hopes that fell apart for us. Mainly due to evil bastards.

United ’08 beat Chelski on their home turf. I am still bitter about the scally shoplifters mugging us in QF. Arsenal were done by Refs in both games with the shoplifters. Liverpool were found out later to be shite. The only pleasure in the final was seeing John Terry loose when he could have won, even if it meant watching Sir Bacon Face smug winning grin.

Barca ’09 beat Manu. Adebayor not picking up John O’Shea for a corner, then Ronaldo running the show in the second leg of the Semi Final. Arsenal had to rebuild yet another team.

Inter ’10 beat Bayern where they parked the bus in a truly horrendous display of negativity by Moe. Messi was unstoppable in the QF against us in Barcelona.

Barca ’11 beat United yet gain, Cesc and JvC did a lot to help Barca on their way but we had the beating of them and don’t let anyone tell you we didn’t. United were brushed aside quite easily in the final.

The 2012 final did not happen. Flukes like this can very occasional happen in a quantum random universe, but so can a unicorn come out of John Terry’s  backside; Sideways. Wearing shin-pads. Arsenal had suffered some poor reffing in the San Siro. in R16. Milan were found out to be a weak team later on.

Bayern Munich ’13 beat Dortmund. I will argue that despite 15 minutes of poor concentration, at home in the first leg of R16, Arsenal had the measure of BM in Munich and Theo was clearly onside and going 1 to 1 with the their goalie when the offside flag was wrongly raised. (Arsenal have a tragic litany of wrong offside calls done against us over the years, mainly because we rely so much on quick counterattacks against high line defenses.) BvB shouldn’t have even been at the final at all but only for some horrendous officiating that sent Malaga home in the QF.

Now there are new, richer kids on the block, with owners who are desperate to glam-up their own despicable images with a bit of magic stardust from the top table of Europe’s most popular sporting contest, especially in an area of the mass media market with the thickest, most sycophantic and laziest journalism going.

Human right abusers, slave labour runners, national fraudsters, criminal pasts? – no problem if you buy a couple of super stars and a run down club with a big marketing potential.

*Yes, they actually gave him a knighthood for this statistical improbability of a result.

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77 comments on “Arsenal Are Poor In Europe

  1. Feels very Interdullish doesn’t it – the insanity of the award of the earliest fixture of the weekend last Saturday v the latest of this is laid bare.

    It’s interesting the Suarez is supposedly signed up for £225k per week and in return Liverpool can get a decent whack for him come the summer as well as retain his services for another few months.

    Seems to be on Liverpool fans that haven’t twigged that this is exactly what’s going on.


  2. Maybe you gentlemen are correct regarding Luis. To me it just looks like he has made his eventual exit much more difficult this summer. And lets hope someone other than his agent drew up this buyout clause seeing the poor shmuck has a limited understanding of the English language given last summers fiasco with this portion of his contract.


  3. Have no idea of what happened to Steww. Missing his quality writing on a dull Saturday morning. Who is going to step up to the plate is the question.


  4. GK
    The only club wants him/can afford him apart from us is Real Madrid and considering they might finish 3rd in La Liga at the very worst, their president will have to buy another galactico to appease the fans. RM will still get champions league season after season; but with us, City & Chelsea and possibly even manure clawing back next season the chances of the Mickey mousers obtaining regular UCL placings is minimal – never mind what Micael Owen says.


  5. 3-1 to the team Suarez FC ‘mousers.
    Oh well, we need to reclaim our top spot now.
    Cue Hansen making a glorious return to MOTD tonight.


  6. Cardiff made their comeback way too late. I think they could’ve at least drawn with the bin dippers.


  7. It’ll be interesting to see how Man City do without Agüero. They have very little mobility upfront without him.


  8. No Zabaletta either. Clichy is playing out on the right.


  9. What’s worrisome is the goal differential with the blue mancs and now pool.


  10. Goonerkam
    I’m not too worried,
    When our team hits top gear, with a front three of Theo, Giroud and Poldi we will get a few 7 nils in the league.
    We still have Sunderland, Fulham, Palace, West Brom, West Ham & Cardiff all to play at home yet.


  11. The Ox will have his say too. Despite his injury still feel Theo will better last season’s goal tally. Important to concentrate on us and not what everyone else is doing.


  12. Chamberlain! *sobs*

    Tricksy injury to recover from. Michael Owen, that knowledgable football guru, declared himself, and I quote “Match fit” for a WC after a similar injury to his knee I think. Expect he wasn’t, far from it. That match fitness was a long long way away.
    He twonked his knee, again, inside about thirty seconds of the first game. The manager (sexy Svenn) also looked quite stupid after that incident. A pair of fools. After that it was time for Micky to spend time at the stables (dont worry, not Godolphin! Phew!) and the bookies of course. And Slurgus’ bench.

    If Chambo is charging around like he was in that first 45 minutes of the season by the time the Bayern game comes around I’ll be happy.


  13. City, bugger.
    I was hoping for some crumbs of comfort somewhere today.
    Arsenal will have to do it themselves on Monday.


  14. Meh, Fulham fell apart there at the end. They are a few games away from causing the big boys trouble at home.


  15. So one of those rare weekends when we get no help from another BPL team. City and Pool have overhauled us. Such is the unpredictability of week-to-week. Its all up to u, a true test of our mettle. We should embrace the challenge, not fear it.


  16. The best teams have a habit of making sides fall apart in the last ten minutes.


  17. So The Arsenal are now in third place and my twitter line is full not just of doom and gloom but also of negativity, pessimism and barely disguised hate. It’s a timely reminder after two months of relative quiet that the naysayers (or are they inside agents or collaborators cunningly placed by those whose best interests are not served by a model of self-sufficient responsibility) have not gone away and were only ever waiting for an opportunity to spread their vile nonsense. The danger is that it makes the result of Monday’s game too important: no good sportsman ever focuses on outcomes, instead insisting on concentrating on process. Keep repeating the tried and tested method that you have worked out gives you the best chance of success and you will probably succeed: get all in a frenzy about the outcome and you will surely suffer variations on a theme of stagecraft.

    Thank heavens that the coach is not a twitter warrior. Trust in our method, play to our strengths and we have a chance. Keep doing that until May and we will have a better chance than most, as our method is very good.


  18. Foreverheady,what is your twitter name?


  19. littlebitquality – and apologies if I am not getting social media quite right: I’m new to it.


  20. Can’t do anything but look forward to Monday imo. Let the negativistwats get on with their moaning, whining and downright miserable nonsense.

    We are in a position to go back to the top of the league by playing one of the other major runners in the race. THIS is what we’re here for. THIS is why it’s a marvellous game to follow and the bonus of following a team that, against so many of the apparent odds, so many of the opinions of the apparently wise and worldly, is such a fortunate place for us to be.

    Our team can play football as good as any. It’s a couple days before Christmas when we play Chelsea. I’m fortunate enough to be working Monday AM so will not get down to the Holloway road until a sensible pre match time – some I know plan to be in the pub from midday (hehe). A couple of beers, a cheerful stroll to the ground and then the Match itself! Fcuking marvellous! (AND all my xmas shopping is done – never before completed this early) What on earth is there to be down about?!

    Anyone who finds something to whine about, or be miserable about, or spread doom and gloom about, is simply too sad a person; with an understanding of the situation somewhere below the level of understanding my cat has. The fact that I no longer have a cat since Patch passed away a couple years back shows just how little understanding of the situation such folk have!

    Soak it up, the match, the pressure, the season and the beer/turkey/stuffing/vegetables/fizzy pop/chocolate [delete as suits] and enjoy. I’m here to enjoy the ride!

    If you want to be miserable and naysaying and negative do just one small thing for me….. Fuck Right Off!


  21. Loving AKB – FRO

    Your Monday better than mine. Already on holiday so have to take kids to Granny, do that sort of stuff. (Life tip: try not to end up with 90 year olds to look after at the same time as two under 10s.) But we will head back in time for kick off and will love whatever happens. Think it will be 1-1 but win lose or draw I’ll be fretting through Christmas Day and waiting for 1500 Boxing Day. Can’t see either game live but at least these days they’re on the telly so maybe, just maybe, that enfranchises more supporters than those who used to be able to go to Highbury, have a couple of pints, two portions of pie and mash and still have change from the bus ride home.

    But I’ll be there on New Years Day….


  22. Family has to come first I think sir. Fortunately for me my kids are now adults and I’m in the limbo bit between caring for them and them caring for me. Nonetheless, as you say, it matters not where one might find themselves but the ability to enjoy the game either live or subsequently via one media form or another is what we all share – because we follow The Arsenal. Will be there NYD too, Pint is on me if we bump into each other.


  23. Say it brother Steve!

    The game hasn’t even been played yet, but they’re ready to hand the 3 points to chelski. I hope the players are not as lily-livered as some of the ‘fans’ – I can’t bring myself to call them supporters, because it’s hardly supportive behaviour.


  24. Hmm, let’s ponder the wisdom of those arranging these fixtures:

    It’s a derby (tick)
    Two sets of supporters with very little regard for each other (tick)
    Both teams in serious competition for the league title (tick)
    Late kick-off (tick)
    Huge numbers of fans now on holiday (tick)
    Plenty will no doubt be ‘partaking’ of the sauce from very early in the day (tick)
    A referee both benevolent and reliable (sarcastic tick)

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Amazed the Met allowed this to take place but here’s hoping for a game to be played in the right spirit in front of jovial but peaceable fans.

    Yes, right.


  25. ANDREW
    are you expecting a riot?? We might need the cavalry. Someone get in touch with FRANK to get lady NINA all ready and saddled up. Lol
    I hope we stuff Maureen and his pack of mercenaries. Only that will shut him the f••• up.


  26. “Amazed the Met allowed this to take place but here’s hoping for a game to be played in the right spirit in front of jovial but peaceable fans”.

    Thankfully they won’t have as many tickets as they had for the Capital One cup game – where they created a horrible atmosphere. I’ve never experienced such nasty and arrogant away fans before.


  27. I’ve noticed that those who inherit money and have done nothing to earn it are often nasty and arrogant.


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