Analysis – Were Arsenal always humiliated in the ECL in Wenger’s later years?



While reading a recent article in “JustArsenal”, I came across a statement that alluded to the above, mentioning Bayern Munich as an example.

Having asked the fan in question (Davi) for clarification, none was forthcoming, so I decided to check up this version of events, just to see if my memory was playing tricks on me and/or I had got it wrong myself.

Now we all know about the 10-2 two-legged fiasco and that’s not up for debate…it was humiliating…but what about the other results from the CL during those latter years?

So, I went back over each season, detailing the game(s) that we got knocked out of and then let us all judge whether or not they were actually “humiliating”.

I have divided (*****) the two periods that fans seem to want to compare and here they are:

98/99 Knocked out in the group stages…. GF=8 GA=8

99/00 Knocked out in the group stages     GF=9 GA=9

00/01 Knocked out in Q/F by Valencia on away goals rule 2-2

01/02 Knocked out in Second group stages     GF=17 GA=17

02/03 Knocked out in Second group stages…. GF=15 GA=9

03/04 Knocked out in Q/F by Chelsea 2-3

04/05 Knocked out in Q/F by Bayern Munich 2-3

05/06 Lost in final to Barcelona 1-2

06/07 Knocked out in Q/F by PSV 1-2

07/08 Knocked out in Q/F by Liverpool 3-5

08/09 Knocked out in S/F by Man Utd 1-4

09/10 Knocked out in Q/F by Barcelona 3-6

************************************Here come the “humiliating years”!!!!

10/11 Knocked out in Q/F by Barcelona 3-4

11/12 Knocked out in Q/F by AC Milan 3-4

12/13 Knocked out in Q/F by Bayern Munich on away goals rule 3-3

13/14 Knocked out in Q/F by Bayern Munich  1-3

14/15 Knocked out in Q/F by AS Monaco on away goals rule 3-3

15/16 Knocked out in Q/F by Barcelona 1-5

16/17 Knocked out in Q/F by Bayern Munich 2-10

The two results that DO represent a “humiliating” scoreline in Wenger’s later years, are the 16/17, 15/16 results… if we take the usual date for his “decline” as the oft quoted 2010/11 season onwards.

That makes it 2 out of 7, or less than a third of the results.

Now, while I agree that getting knocked out seven times out of seven in the Q/f stages was disappointing and frustrating, I fail to understand how anyone can say it was a sign of a decline.

We were just not as good as Barcelona or Bayern Munich, simple as that!!

In fact, it was the two heavyweights of that time, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, who account for five of the seven eliminations from the competition.

Of the other two, one was on the away goal rule and the other by just one goal!!!!!!!

In summary then, despite the accusation that AW’s second term in office was not a success story, three fa cups, three CS trophies, seven top four finishes and seven Q/F appearances in the CL would suggest a different story.

The problem has always been the COMPARISON with his first ten years by a minority of our own fans and the media at large.

How we would like to boast of three Q/F CL appearances since he left, or even three lowly fourth places that was so derided by our own fans.

So, let’s just get the FACTS right when trying to rewrite the history of our club, it’s most successful manager, Arsene Wenger.

YES, he should have left after the 2016/17 season, when we only finished 5th, won the FA cup, Charity Shield and the miserly quarter finals of the Champions League……with, so we are told, dross, mentally frail, lazy players, no defence, along with Kroenke and Gazidis to guide us into oblivion!!!!!

What a terrible season that was, compared to the land of milk and honey we were promised once he left. Even in his final year, we finished 6th…not 8th twice in a row!!!

If being only one of the eight best teams in Europe for seven consecutive years was seen as “a decline”, where we are now must be seen as catastrophic!




All the above stats are in the club’s official handbook – please take time to read and check them out.

Tags Barcelona Bayern Munich Champions League Wenger


  1. Not “always” or “were used to”, but we got humiliated. But we also got trashed under Emery and Arteta, so nobody is perfect

    However, Wenger should’ve won at least one UCL trophy, after managing the same team for more than two decades

    He was also the most influential figure at the club and set up the system for the academy, so no UCL trophy after 20+ years of youth development was disappointing

  2. As ever Ken, a well researched article. That being said, I will say no more, lest our(you and I) old sores open wide again.

  3. Europe 0/22 attempts
    EPL 3/22 attempts
    FA 7/22 attempts
    LC 0/22 attempts
    In respect of the legend, I would prostrate if ever we crossed paths again.
    And I would rise up and prostrate again for the legends he signed – Chamak, Assano, Sanogo, Gervinho, Andre Santos, Schilachi, Gabriel, Elneny, Ozil, Kolasinac and the list goes on.Good that Ivan Gazdis ended the misery.
    As for Mikel, we are in a transition and will reap rewards in the 2022/23 season once the remnants are gone and replaced with real footballers. Backline is sorted for the next decade, need some serious strikers and a sensible DM.
    Thanks to Ken, for the memories, end result for me is the Wenger team never lifted a cup in Europe, we were never good enough, just a bunch of bottlers then but some have awakenedfrom their slumber or lost their rose tinted glasses only after Mikel took over.

    1. Reap rewards in 2022-23!
      I very much doubt he will be here next season so there will be no reaping of any kind ,nearly 2 years in and no progress from the magician (your word for him).
      And if by some miracle he is here then that will show us the club are happy with being a mid table team with him in charge .

    2. Lol utter garbage. What was spent since wenger left was never spent in all the years he was there. Arteta is incapable of getting a top 4 finish. And he would be lucky to get a top8 finish. And this team is capable of securing top 4 with any half decent manager

  4. After 2006, had Wenger been given the kind of support (read: money) the other big 4 got, we would have won a few more epl titles. Heck, we might even see another invincible squad created. (I know it is a big ‘might’, but this is le prof we are talking about. The man who predicted an unbeatable season a season prior.)

    Honestly it always makes me boil when people criticize Wenger’s 2nd decade at arsenal. If you compared our squad to other big clubs, you would see it is like comparing boys to men. Yet we can still play a beautiful free flowing football. How many so called big clubs would have Almunia as their main goalie, djourou as defender, gambling on 2nd rate players from b league like kos, yaya sanogo, chamack, santos, etc, played an 18 year old in CM in knockout stage against the then mighty barca, etc.. This man Wenger divides fans because many dont appreciate his quality. He stayed at the top for so long,fighting a losing battle year in year out, enduring ungrateful fans abuse.. how he did not burn out sooner I could only wonder.. sure he declined, at last, after that long battle. He lost his touch, players he bought did not perform, xhaka, mustafi, etc.. but to me that is understandable. After all Arsenal squeezed him dry in his best seasons..

    Now we are stuck with Arteta. He is a sensible manager we all dreamed off. He plugged the hole in the team, addressing the team’s weaknesses, with him we dont concede stupid goals. Yet ironically, here we are, a mid table club, celebrating our draws, content with trusting the process (wherever that would lead us), dreaming one day our young squad would mature. Gunners oh gunners…

    1. I am sorry, but your premise doesn’t hold up.
      In the seasons 10/11 to 17/18 (Wenger’s final 8 years) Wenger/Arsenal had the 4’th highest nett spend on players behind City, United and Chelsea, but ahead of Liverpool and Spurs. Yet, Liverpool and Spurs managed to go from always (Spurs) and mostly (Liverpoool) finishing behind us in the league to being ahead of us.
      They were simply better managed in that period.

        1. I have actually written articles on this site with these facts. But the facts are easily found, i.e on

      1. @Gunner4life.
        You are covering for Wenger like he was some amateur / rookie manager that had been in the job for 2 seasons.
        He had 22 years at Arsenal, 3 league titles in 22 years. No Champions league trophy for those 22 years. Went 9 years without winning a single trophy. He had become too comfortable with just about sneakijg into 4th place. The famous “4th place is like a trophy”.
        A manager that had revolutionarised English football the moment he steped foot into England (1996), winning 3 EPL titles in his first 10 seasons. Went from that to “But finishing 4th is like a trophy”. Come on now, Talk about laying the groundwork in order to lower and manager our expectations.

        And you listed the likes of Djourou, Santos, Chamack etc. Who bought them? Did he have to buy them or it was his own choice? No one forced or put a gun to wengers head.

        And you also said something like “Had wenger been given the financial support like the other top 4 sides we would have won a few more trophies.”
        Weren’t we always told and assured by the board and wenger himself that we had more than £200 million in the bank? And that we are able compete with the likes of Bayern and even the likes of Madrid generally.

        And wasn’t it wenger that did not want to but so caller expensive already made superstars players? I remember talking going around stating that wenger preferred players he had developed himself? He did not want to deal with massive egos?

        Rumours that wenger encouraged the board to not go above the £40million release claus. Hence the £40 million + £1 for Suarez. Haggling over £35 million for Higuin etc?

        And isn’t also general knowlegde that it was Gazidis who forced the Aubameyung through despite wengers uneasiness?

        The pressure from the fans got so bad that Gazidis started to overrule wenger in order to save his own back.

        1. Goonster, what a lot of surnising you have come up with to explain your thoughts.
          Let’s take them one by one:

          1. Sneaking into fourth place… from the 2009/10 season, up and until he left the club we finished 4th three times – 3rd three times – 2nd once – 5th once (by one point) – 6th once.
          So “sneaking” into fourth place on the seven times he got us into the CL is plainly wrong.
          2. His signings – yet AND despite the players you mention, he still managed to get us into the CL.
          Name me one manager who has not signed a “bad” player?
          We don’t know and never will know, what spending restrictions there were, so your assumption is your opinion – ask yourself WHY he went from the level of the Invincible squad to the likes of the players you name.
          3. Wenger and the board assured us we could compete with Bayern and /or Madrid – I think you will find it was gazidis and one board member who said this and so we should have had the money, as AW kept us in the CL for those seven years… why didn’t kronkie release it as he has done with MA?
          3. Players ego – as your fond of quoting players who didn’t make it, name me one player he couldn’t manage… a player, say, he had to give away such as Ozil?
          4. Rumours? That is correct…. just rumours. However it was proven that Liverpool lied about his release clause and the said offer should have triggered the release clause. I guess you think kronkie should have bid more, but why?
          5. Aubameyang – correct in as much as gazidis had taken control of contracts and salaries – he also bought Mavs, Mkhtaryan, Sokratis, Lichsteiner, Torreria, Guendouzi and Leno.
          I haven’t heard that AW was against Aubameyang, but was he against the other gazidis signings then?
          6. Pressure from the fans – gazidis had taken control and introduced his three musketeers to take over the buying, selling, contract issues… how much did that cost and has it been successful in keeping us in the top four as AW did?
          If it was to save his own back, why did he then leave the club six months later, when AW had left?

          As for the 4th place trophy, ask any manager and supporter what that neans/meant to their club and perhaps you might understand why Pep says it is always his first priority!! /

          1. Ken1945
            Excuse me for getting in on a comment directed to goonster.
            But I see the situation mentioned in your number 3) (the first number 3) a bit differently.
            As I remember, Wenger has in several transferwindows assured media and the fans, that money were available, and indeed our spending has for at least 10 years been up there with the top 3-4 spenders. Not just lately.
            It is a false myth, that Wenger didn’t have the funds to compete. He had them and spent them. To claim Kroenke has prevented it, is contrary to all available facts.
            The tragedy is, despite the spending we went backwards in Wenger last few years, and to add to the tragedy, despite we are still spending, we haven’t yet caught up with the top 4.

  5. I think if Wenger stayed he would have got the financial support Emery and Arteta has and could have brought more success to the club…….

  6. Gunner4life, I cannot add or take away anything from your brilliant analysis of the situation.
    All I ask is that real supporters of the club, like Davi obviously is, will just reflect and look at the results during AW’s time.

    I know the likes of Loose Cannon will always come in with the same old story, but he never actually digests what we are saying – good to see him back though, as he disappeared after the Brighton and Palace results.

    As GAI says, Wenger should have won the CL, especially with the Invincible squad, but he didn’t and he acknowledged that in his books.

    Just think how much revenue our club is missing out on now, with no European football.
    Why this is so hard to understand when every club says the first priority EVERY season is to achieve CL football remains a mystery to me – anyway thanks for such a excellent response.

    1. Sometimes, there are people who cannot analyse or are very stubborn. Ken1945, you have to accept the world is not perfect.

      1. Oh I do Kenny, but when someone makes a false claim, shouldn’t it be challenged?
        Otherwise it becomes a fact – like the utterly ridiculous claim that The Arsenal never had a defence after 2008 as an example.

  7. The reason why Arsenal and Wenger always get beaten is obvious to all but not to him. His game philosophy is attack, all the time.
    When teams play the sucker punch he is annoyed .Teams play to win not entertain. Who can ever forget some of the matches Arsenal dominated and yet lost .
    Hull shd have been buried by half time but some who won 2-1. Suffice to say too many of such games will irritate fellow gunners.
    Had he played a more pragmatic game Arsenal could have won at least two or three epl titles.

  8. We were never “humiliated “ as the title suggests. Good article Ken and I do know it wasn’t your headline.


      I had to change it so the title fit into the space provided lol!

      But I agree i should have put “used to” rather than “always” (Sorry Ken)

    2. Yes. Humiliated is all the negative records that Arshita has broken. We always played beautiful football under wenger if nothing else in the end. N I regret slating him

  9. Ken1945
    Thank you for putting facts on the table. Facts should not be disputed, but you can interpret the differently.
    Loosing to a comparatively small club like Monaco in 14-15 + the subsequent losses to Barcelona and Bayern can actually be seen as a decline compared to the years before.
    So I think, you are actually seeing 3 years of decline in the Champions League, and after that dropping out of the Champions League all together.
    The complete picture IMO is then, that Wenger took us to wonderful heights, but his last few years was overall a real decline.
    But I agree, what we are seeing now, is even worse and at such, a continuation of the decline.

      1. AndersS thanks for your views.
        I’m not saying that all our results were wonderful by the way.

        But we lost games in Arsene’s early years that we should have won – chelsea at Highbury sticks out like a sore thumb!!!

        The point I am trying to get over though, is that we still played in every quarter final of the CL during the so called “barren years”…. the years that have become the rule to measure AW’s tenure.

        I always ask how, if we had players who were “lazy, dross, mentally frail, no defence, trouble makers” and with a manager who had “lost his way, neglected his defence and had not kept up with the modern managers”, how on earth did we regularly feature in the CL Q/Finals, regularly finish in the top four and win three fa cups and CS?

        I never get an answer that explains these facts…. unless it’s the one that says “there were only two, three or four teams in it, coinciding with where we finished.
        Perhaps someone can enlighten me?

  10. Good article though it is clear you are using aggregate scores to cover some defeats.

    1-4 barca away
    0-4 ac milan away
    1-3 monaco home
    1-3 bayern home
    1-5 barca aggregate
    2-10 bayern aggregate

    Our European run was full of disappointment with the occasional humiliation in there.

    1. Why not discuss the wins then Ackshay?
      5-1 Shaktar
      3-0 Milan
      8-2 Galatasaray (H and A)
      2-0 Monaco
      5-0 Porto
      2-1 Barcelona

      Losing in each quarter final was disappointing and frustrating (as I said in the article) but is it as frustrating and disappointing as not even being in ANY european competition?

  11. I love how @Ken always try to make Stats fit his own opinion.
    Wenger had turned us into a complete joke in Europe. Nearly very club wanted to be drawn against Arsenal from the quarter finals onwards as we had become the weeping boys and joke of the CL.
    Just about making Top 4, get out of the group stages and then out in the quarter finals, that had become so predictable that it was a safe bet.

    And cooking the Stats ti suit bias is funny.
    Let go step by step.

    Against Liverpool 5-3 loss on aggregate. We were down 4-2 in the first leg and it was an uphill climb. All Liverpool had to do in the return leg was just see out the game. In the return leg it finished 1-1 because liverpool did not get out of second gear as they were already 4-2 up. But just putting up 5-3 on aggregate without context is funny. Lol

    Against United 4-1 loss. United in that tied came at the Emirates, went 3-0 up. Got Fletcher sent off in the 75th minute but still held on after that penelty give away in the 75th minute. We went to their place where they were just cruising and had 3 away goals to sit back on. In the away game we went on to 1-0 with United not even trying.

    The tie against Barcelona 08/09. We were absolutely dominate in each and every area by Barcelona in tha first leg. They had 62% possession. They 22 shots / 11 on target. We had 6 shots overall and 3 on target. It ended 2-2.
    In the second Leg it it ended 4-1 to Barcelona. That 6-3 on aggregate.

    Against Barcelona 2010/11. In the first leg at the Emirates we did quiet well. We beat them 2-1 in a very tight encounter. But in the return leg Barcelona we too good and dominant. They beat us by 3-1 with 67 possessions. The goal we got was an own goal by Busquets. We had 6 shots all game and 0 shots on target in the whole game.

    Against AC MILLAN 11/12. We were down 4-0 before the return leg at the Emirates. Millan became complacent in the return. They were too cocky thinking 4-0 was insurmountable.
    We had nothing to lose while Millan became overconfident, hence why they nearly let us back in. We won 3-0.

    Against Bayern 12/13. Bayern came to the Emirate and beat us 3-1. I do feel like they took the foot off the gas in the second leg as they thought 3 away goals was enough. Complacency on their part I do think. We won 2-0 away.

    Bayern 13/14. Szny sent off near the end of the firs half. We had 12% possesion in the second half. Lost 0-2 at the emirates.

    Monaco 14/15. Lets not even mention this game.

    The 15/16 Knocked out in Q/F by Barcelona 1-5 and 16/17 Knocked out in Q/F by Bayern Munich 2-10 speak for themselves.

    When you put stats in the context they are supposed to be presented then you can see a completely different picture.
    Isn’t it?

    1. Not really Goonster as you are talking about the games we lost and completely ignore the games that got us to the Q/F seven times out of nine in AW’s second stint….. why?
      I expect the media and opposing fans to run down the clubs achievements, but not a fellow Gooner.
      Tell you what Goonster, ask yourself what made us a top four club for two decades?
      Not the defeats that you seem to have imprinted in your mind…. why is that?

      1. Goonster, as you seem to have the negativity off pat, can you answer the question I posed – how did AW and the players manage it year in and year out…. with the players you love to mention above and (according to you) a manager who had lost his way?
        Should be easy for you to explain.

        1. @ken
          And I love your bait and switch tactic.
          You absolutely ignored my counter to your out of context Stats. Instead of addressing my points you went straight to ad hominem and change of the subject. We were discussing our QF ceiling amd humiliations. But all of a sudden you are introducing the last 16.
          Then what’s next after that? Group stages? Then what’s next after that? Bringing up how we made top 4 in the league?

          The games to get us to the quarter finals were largely against mediocre sides like ourselves. We were just slightly better than them.
          Arsenal was largely a few points better than them generally.

          Again Ken, I am not just being negative. I am just being object and honest with myself. That the difference between me and some of you guys. Just because I am an Arsenal fan or loved wenger does not mean I have to turn my rationality, logic and reason off for the sake of grandstanding as a superfan. My personality and mentality won’t let me be delude myself. I call it like it is.

          Just because we all support the club does not mean we have to start group think. If wenger I can clearly see that Wenger had become stagnant and in decline I will say it. There is nothing wrong with being objective and honest with oneself. You will never catch me go into worship and over idolising mode for any individual. I am a mature, rational and call it like it is kind of person. My days of worship and over idolising ended in my youth (10 years old to mid 20’s). I now don’t get mesmerised by glossy Stats and sophistry. I have been there to witness the Wenger era from the moment he was hired in 1996 to 2018 when he was relieved of his duties. Was a “AKB” till 2015. So I would like to say that I am very objective when it comes to rating his overall tenure at Arsenal.

          1. If that is the case, Goonster, which I obviously accept regarding your Gooner status, why can’t you answer the simple question I posed to you at 7.55pm?
            I also have never hero worshipped anyone, but what I do, is try to remind people who make wrong statements and that facts can make clear are wrong, the opportunity to rectify those issues.
            We were never humiliates on a regular basis in the Q/F of the CL as the results prove – I didn’t say we thrashed opponents… I didn’t say they were top teams – I didn’t say we were unlucky.

            What you did, was to highlight the games that you think we were, without a thought about THEIR pedigree.

            Finally, we were always in the CL under AW and, but for 1 point, would have made it 21 consecutive appearances, bettered only by Real Madrid.
            Let’s hope MA or any other manager can, at the very least, get us back into some kind of european football.

  12. If the point of this little undertaking was to simply highlight just how much of a dumpster fire we are presently, then bravo, mission accomplished…that said, no matter how you package the numbers, everyone with the capacity to see knows full-well that, following RVP’s departure, we constantly failed the all important “eye test” year in, year out, especially when it came to our European campaigns

    once again, I must stress, that if your primary objective was to spotlight the fact that mini-Arsene has failed miserably, then I support your hypothesis wholeheartedly…on the other hand, if this is just another trip down memory lane, with you as our apologist guide, I still take issue with any attempt to sugarcoat Wenger’s rather underwhelming latter years

  13. The article also tells how far we have fallen after Arsene left. After he left,we are not allowed to play UCL. Full stop.

    Personally, I don’t mint to get trashed by some UCL team, say by 10-0, as long as the competition is UCL. Now, we are not allowed to get humiliated.

  14. Oh Dear Ken, did you ever think we had a chance in any of those losses. Arsenal were just there to make up the numbers. Time does not wash away the frustration at the inertia which had set in like concrete.. Those were the good old days but only when compared to the present. Clubs like Bayern were and still are in to win it

    1. You missed the point though Joe. S
      The claim was made that we were “humiliated” in the Q/F on a regular basis… we clearly were not.
      No, I never thought we could win the CL as we weren’t good enough.

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