Like the last round of the Europa League, we have put ourselves in a pickle by having the wrong attitude away from home. We are not going to win this competition by only relying on our home form, eventually we are not going to get away with it. Yet, stranger things have happened then us beating Rennes by two clear goals. As is usually the case at the Emirates, you don’t doubt our ability to score goals but worry about us conceding out of nowhere. In other words, I will only relax this Thursday if we are 3-0 up.
I have looked back on previous European campaigns (since the formation of the Champions League) and my findings are not encouraging. We have only advanced twice in two legged ties when losing the 1st leg, one of which was this year against Bate. 4 other times we have responded by winning the 2nd leg but not by enough to rescue the tie. Obviously, this week, we are not facing the likes of Barcelona or Bayern Munich, but history shows this is going to be a challenge to us mentally.
First Leg – Bayern Munich 3-1 Arsenal
Outplayed in Germany, we were luck Kolo Touré got a late away goal to keep the tie alive.
2nd Leg – Arsenal 1-0 Bayern Munich – A moment of magic from Henry changed the momentum. Senderos produced one of his best ever performances to stop the visitors hitting us on the break, but we couldn’t find the other goal we needed. Arsene Wenger was left regretting how we played in Germany as at Highbury we showed there wasn’t a lot of difference between the two sides.
First Leg – PSV 1-0 Arsenal
Reminiscent of our attitude in France last Thursday, we were massive favourites to win the tie so showed up in Holland with the wrong attitude, not earning the right to play.
2nd Leg – Arsenal 1-1
A depressing way for Henry’s final European campaign as a Gunner to end. Clearly not fit, Mr Wenger felt he had to bring him off the bench to help his young teammates search for a goal. Eventually we forced an own goal, but we were always vulnerable to an away goal. Alex headed in a set piece, the only way the visitors threatened.
First Leg Man United 1-0 Arsenal
Considered not the worse worst-case scenario given how much the home side dominated. Almunia had one of his better games, to keep us in the tie.
2nd Leg – Arsenal 1-3 Man United
Having been fantastic at Old Trafford, Almunia conceded from a free kick over 30 yards out, which knocked the stuffing out of the Emirates.
First Leg Porto 2-1 Arsenal
Fabianski had a shocker, dropping a cross into his goal. For his second mistake, he picks up a ball from a pass back, a free kick Porto take quickly while he’s not in goal (check it on YouTube).
2nd Leg Arsenal 5-0 Porto
The moment we broke the deadlock this was never in doubt. One of Nasri’s best performances. Even Eboue scored!
First Leg Ac Milan 4-0 Arsenal
One of the worst squads we ever had showed zero leadership or game management. Classic example of being overwhelmed by the shirt you are playing, ignoring this was not the Milan team of previous eras (Heck we let Prince Boateng score). We needed the mentality to take a 2-0 loss but kept throwing players forward, leaving gaps at the back.
2nd Leg Arsenal 3-0 AC Milan
The players could not have given this any more and deserve credit for believing they could turn around such a margin. Were 3-0 up at half time with Van Persie missing a sitter in the second half. Physically and emotionally we had given so much that with 20 mins left we couldn’t give that final push.
First Leg – Arsenal 1-3 Bayern Munich
This was when we were being knocked out of domestic cups by the likes of Bradford and Blackburn and Mr Wenger was really showing that the pressure was getting to him. 2-1 was flattering to us given the visitors dominance but at least would have kept the tie alive before we conceded a soft third.
2nd Leg – Bayern Munich 0-2 Arsenal
For the 2nd year running, we came close to a great escape. Bayern were guilty of not knowing if they should stick or twist so panicked when we scored. It was typical Arsenal, playing well when the pressure was off.
First Leg Arsenal 0-2 Bayern Munich
A lot more competitive this time, until Ozil’s woeful penalty miss. Szczesny then gets sent off, forcing us to play over 45 mins with 10 men.
2nd Leg – Bayern Munich 1-1 Arsenal
Like 12 months previous Bayern were guilty of complacency, while we played well with the pressure off. Once we scored, the home side got their act together
1st Leg – Arsenal 1-3 Monaco
Everyone was talking about how for once the draw was kind for us. We were terribly guilty of complacency but even then Giroud had enough chances to get a result. When the Ox got it back to 2-1, we were naive, throwing everyone forward to be caught on the break.
2nd Leg – Monaco 0-2 Arsenal
This was more a reflection of the quality between the two sides, as we dominated. If we had played like this two weeks previous, we would have been fine.
1st Leg – Arsenal 0-2 Barcelona
Not a lack of effort just world class counter attacking football from Barca. Flamini was silly to concede a penalty.
2nd Leg – Barcelona 3 – 1 Arsenal
After the first leg result, this was played like a testimonial making it open and pleasing on the eye. Barca used flicks and tricks they might not have if the aggregate score was goalless.
First Leg – Bayern Munich 5-1 Arsenal
This game was 1-1 at half time. Someone should have pointed out that even at 3-1 down, we were in a healthy enough position because of the away goal. Instead we fell apart in the second half
2nd Leg – Arsenal 1-5 Bayern Munich
Playing for pride we took the lead but fell apart once our captain was sent off. Yes we were down to 10 men but still no excuse to lose in that manner.
First Leg – Bate 1-0 Arsenal
Like too many away games over the years, we showed up with a shocking attitude. To put result into perspective, our second string beat the same opposition 4-2 and 6-0 12 months previously.
2nd Leg – Arsenal 3-0 Bate
In good preparation for this week, we managed this game well, realising we were more likely to outscore the visitors than defend a lead.