Lionel Messi masterclasses, last minute howlers and being bullied by Bayern: After Arsenal’s humiliating exit at the hands of Olympiacos, here’s how they’ve been dumped out of Europe EVERY year since Champions League final defeat in 2006
- Arsenal were knocked out of the Europa League by Olympiacos on Thursday
- The Gunners have suffered heartbreaking and embarrassing exits from Europe
- Sportsmail looks at every European exit since the 2006 Champions League final
Arsenal suffered yet another European exit on Thursday night after Olympiacos knocked them out in the Europa League Round of 32.
The Gunners have a frustrating, and at times embarrassing recent history with both the Champions League and the Europa League when they reach the knock-out stages. From six-goal thrillers against Premier League rivals to 10-goal routs at the hands of Bayern Munich, Arsenal have always fallen short in the latter stages of their European endeavours.
Here Sportsmail look at all of Arsenal’s European exits since their Champions League final against Barcelona in 2006.
2005/06 – Barcelona, Champions League Final
Stade de France set the stage for French manager Arsene Wenger’s best chance at lifting the Champions League for Arsenal against a tricky Barcelona outfit. The final ended in heartbreak for the Gunners but was not short of its high moments for the travelling faithful.
The final couldn’t have got off to a worse start with goalkeeper Jens Lehmann dismissed in the 18th minute. However, despite going down to ten men, Arsenal fought hard – as they had throughout the campaign – and took the lead through Sol Campbell before half-time.
Jens Lehmann was sent off as Arsenal suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat against Barcelona
With just 15 minutes left, the Gunners had one hand on the trophy. But not for long. Samuel Eto’o scored from a near impossible angle and Juliano Belletti scored his only Barcelona goal to leave Wenger’s side heartbroken in Paris. A cruel night for the Gunners and the years to follow would only get worse.
2006/07 – PSV, Champions League Round of 16
Arsenal were meant to cruise into the quarter-finals after they drew PSV Eindhoven in the Round of 16. Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas, Gilberto Silva – it should have been light work.
Despite this, the first leg marked a disappointing night for the Gunners as they enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, but could not fashion a chance to equalise from Edison Mendez’ 25-yard rocket for the hosts.
The second leg at the Emirates Stadium saw much improvement from Wenger’s side and an Alex own goal made it seem destined for extra-time. However, the former Chelsea defender made up for his mistake with a late winner to see last season’s finalists crash out in the early knockout stages.
2007/08 – Liverpool, Champions League Quarter-Final
A meeting of two Premier League giants produced a second-leg that will forever be etched into the memory of those watching on that day.
Arsenal hosted a cagey opener against Rafa Benitez’ Liverpool with Emmanuel Adebayor and Dirk Kuyt providing the two goals of the game early in the first half. However, the second leg at Anfield gave us a six-goal thriller in favour of the home side. The never-present Abou Diaby gave the Gunners an early lead that didn’t last long. Sami Hyypia equalised before Fernando Torres shot the Reds in front.
It looked all sealed that Wenger would lead Arsenal to their second Champions League semi-final in three years when Emmanuel Adebayor scored in the 84th minute. What came next was the dictionary definition for ‘capitulation’.
Arsenal played out a blockbuster with Liverpool in the Champions League Quarter-Final
Steven Gerrard netted a penalty and Ryan Babel added salt to the wounds in the dying moments to crush the Gunners European dreams in dramatic fashion for the second year running.
2008/09 – Manchester United, Champions League Semi-Final
Given their result last year against a Premier League side, Arsenal were hoping to avoid arguably Alex Ferguson’s greatest Manchester United team in the draw.
The Gunners trip up north was not a fortuitous one, with John O’Shea of all people scoring the game’s only goal at Old Trafford. And the second-leg at the Emirates got worse for Wenger against his old foe. Cristiano Ronaldo inspired a 3-1 victory for the Red Devils as United spurred onto their second Champions League final in two years.
2009/10 – Barcelona, Champions League Quarter-Final
When people ask what happened in this two-legged tie, tell them Lionel Messi happened.
Lionel Messi put on a masterclass against Arsenal in the Champions League with four goals
After a valiant effort against the defending champions at the Emirates with Theo Walcott and Cesc Fabregas equaling a brace from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Arsenal were humbled in their trip to Spain. Messi scored four goals in an individual performance for the ages – despite Nicklas Bendtner scrambling the Gunners into the lead.
2010/11 – Barcelona, Champions League Round of 16
Fuelled by revenge from the year before, Arsenal hit overdrive in the first-leg at home of this tie and took a lead in the tie with Robin van Persie and Andre Arshavin cancelling out David Villa’s first half goal.
But, Barcelona with a revenge mission of their own after being knocked out in the semi-finals the year before by Inter Milan showcased their world-class attributes and flexed their muscle at the Nou Camp. Lionel Messi and Xavi piled the misery on the travelling fans – who were becoming increasingly frustrated with the club’s near misses in Europe.
2011/12 – AC Milan, Champions League Round of 16
An enthralling match-up that did not disappoint with seven goals scored over the two legs in London and Milan. Typically, Arsenal made their lives ten times harder when they were demolished by the Italian outfit with goals from Kevin Prince Boateng, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a brace from Robinho in the first match of the tie.
However, the Gunners dusted themselves off and put up a cracking fight in the second leg as Laurent Koscielny, Tomas Rosicky and Robin van Persie made it 4-3 on aggregate at half-time. They couldn’t find a fourth to take the tie to extra-time but no-one left questioning the character of Wenger’s side. That would come in the years to follow.
2012/13 – Bayern Munich, Champions League Round of 16
The beginning of what would become a very painful relationship between Arsenal and the Bundesliga champions in this decade. They made a slow start to the tie, going 2-0 down at the Emirates with Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller on the score sheet. Lukas Podolski got one back against his countrymen but Bayern continued to bully in North London and Mario Mandzukic claimed a third.
Olivier Giroud got Arsenal off to a flyer in Munich with a third minute goal and Laurent Koscielny kept the club’s faithful on the edge of their seats with a late contribution, however the Gunners were shown the exit door as Bayern progressed on goal difference.
Arsenal played look dejected after their 3-1 defeat to eventual champions Bayern Munich
Bayern went on to win the Champions League with victory over rivals Borussia Dortmund in the final.
2013/14 – Bayern Munich, Champions League Round of 16
Two years in a row Arsenal met Bayern Munich and for the second time, they crashed out at the same stage of the competition. It began – as it often does – with a defeat at the Emirates in the first leg. Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny was sent off in the first half as Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller made the Gunners pay on home soil (again!).
At the Allianz Arena, Arsene Wenger’s men put up a great fight against the defending Champions but Lukas Podolski’s goal in response to a strike from Bastian Schweinsteiger was not enough and the Gunners were sent packing with a 3-1 deficit on aggregate.
2014/15 – Monaco, Champions League Round of 16
The Gunners deeply regretted a poor first leg at the Emirates against a rather unknown quantity in Monaco. Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov spearheaded an attack that caused an incredible upset in North London on a night when Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud went missing.
Arsenal were knocked out by Monaco in the Champions League Round of 16
Despite Giroud and Aaron Ramsey spurring on a comeback in France during the second leg, Monaco advanced on away goals to continue Arsene Wenger’s horrible relationship with the Champions League Round of 16.
2015/16 – Barcelona, Champions League Round of 16
Arsenal were never favourites for this tie and crashed out in usual Arsenal style as they were undone by Barcelona’s infamous front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar – or better referred to as ‘MSN’.
In the first leg, Arsenal stood strong at the Emirates until a late Messi brace left them with an uphill battle when they traveled to the Nou Camp. They were then humbled by the world’s most feared front three, as each of them got on the score sheet despite Mohamed Elneny scoring early in the second half.
2016/17 – Bayern Munich, Champions League Round of 16
The third and arguably the most embarrassing installment of Arsenal’s Champions League trilogy with German giants Bayern Munich. Arsenal didn’t manage to lose 5-1 to Bayern once, but twice, as the Gunners were embarrassed 10-2 on aggregate and crashed out of the Champions League Round of 16, again.
The two-legged tie with Bayern Munich was one of the most embarrassing in Arsenal’s history
The Gunners truly fell apart as the Bundesliga champions dismantled the dis-organised Londoners in a brutal 180 minutes for the club. Laurent Koscielny saw red, Kieran Gibbs wore the captain’s armband and fans left the Emirates disgusted at Wenger’s tactics.
2017/18 – Atletico Madrid, Europa League Semi-Final
Arsenal were drawn against a tough, well-drilled Atletico Madrid in the latter stages of the Europa League and came to rue missed chances in Arsene Wenger’s last ever European tie in charge of the club.
At the Emirates, Arsenal attempted 28 shots and had 76% possession against a 10-man Atletico after Šime Vrsaljko was sent off 10 minutes into the match. Antione Griezmann cancelled out Alexandre Lacazette’s strike on the hour mark.
Arsenal travelled to Estadio Wanda Metropolitano with it all to do. They whimpered through the match as former Chelsea man Diego Costa scored the vital goal to make it a sad farewell for Wenger in Europe.
2018/19 – Chelsea, Europa League Final
An all English-final that promised so much for Premier League fans turned into a one-sided rout in Baku. Unai Emery’s side saw off tough opposition in Napoli and Valencia to reach the Europa League final and set up a mouth-watering tie with London rivals Chelsea.
Eden Hazard inspired Chelsea to a 4-1 rout of Arsenal in the Europa League final
From the first whistle, Arsenal were second to every ball as the Blues ramped up the scoreline win a glorious attacking display led by Eden Hazard and former Gunner Olivier Giroud. Alex Iwobi scored a consolation goal in a forgettable night for the club.
2019/20 – Olympiacos, Europa League Round of 32
Mikel Arteta ventured into his first European tie against Greek side Olympiacos in high spirits, boasting an unbeaten run in 2020 across all competitions. Alexandre Lacazette scored a crucial away goal in the first leg and the Gunners took a 1-0 lead on aggregate ahead of the second match at the Emirates.
Star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looked to have saved Arsenal’s European dream in extra-time with an acrobatic effort after the visitors goal in the second half. However, Arteta and his squad were left red-faced after Olympiacos scored a last-minute goal in extra-time to draw 2-2 on aggregate and advance to the Round of 16 on away goals.
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