Why are Arsenal so bad in Europe? by ThirdMan JW
We have just come off the back of yet another dreadful performance in Europe, and it got me thinking, why are we so bad in Europe? Historically, we have a terrible record on the European stage dating back to the 63-64 season, that pales in comparison to many other English clubs. Why though? Arsenal are the third biggest club in the history of the domestic English game, yet when it comes to Europe, we consistently fail!
Our woeful performance last night was clearly due to some bizarre decisions from Arteta, but it’s not just him. We saw far worse under Wenger, and for a lot longer, and even Emery, who owns the EL (Europa League), got spanked in the final. Are we just cursed when it comes to European competition?
Even in that first decade when Wenger was at his best, and we had an unbelievably good team, we still couldn’t win a European trophy. Although I do feel sorry for Wenger! To this day, I still believe we would have won the CL (Champions League) if it wasn’t for the sending off. Very proud that he managed to get us to our first ever CL final though. It’s always bloody Barca!
This is why I don’t mind a season or more out of Europe, because it’s just too depressing. I never have any confidence watching these games. The stats are just as depressing:
We haven’t won a European trophy for 27 years
Only 1 appearance in a European final over the last 15 years
Only 1 appearance in the CL final
Only 2 appearances in the CL semi-final
Only 2 victories from 8 European finals (or 2 from 7 if discounting the European Super Cup 1994)
We have lost our last 5 European finals (or 4 if discounting the European Super Cup 1994)
Other English clubs in Europe, in order (order is open to interpretation):
Abbreviations – CL (Champions League/European Cup), EL (Europa League/UEFA Cup), CWC (Cup Winners Cup), ICF (Inter-Cities Fairs Cup)
ESC (European Super Cup)* technically a trophy, but is also open to interpretation.
Liverpool – CL x6, EL x3, ESC x4
Man Utd – CL x3, EL x1, CWC x1, ESC x1
Nottm Forest – CL x2, ESC x1
Chelsea – CL x1, EL x2, CWC x2, ESC x1
Aston Villa – CL x1, ESC x1
Spurs – EL x2, CWC x1
Ipswich – EL x1
Arsenal – CWC x1, ICF x1
West Ham – CWC x1
Man City – CWC x1
Everton – CWC x1
Leeds – ICF x2
Newcastle – ICF x1
It’s maybe a strange theory, but I have always believed that history dictates a club’s chances in any competition. Whether it be a good or bad history in a certain competition, it follows a club around, irrespective of players, managers, owners at any given time. Helping or hindering them.
Some good examples:
I have lost count the number of times Real Madrid have been struggling in the league, in the midst of a crisis, sacking managers all the time, yet they always seem to turn it on when it matters in the CL. Another potential win this season as well, in what’s been a very up-and-down season.
How many years were Liverpool dreadful in the league, yet they do it in Europe.
Ourselves. Arsenal failing in one competition after another, yet because we own the FA Cup, that’s when we always produce the goods. Even as bad as we were last season, we still managed to win yet another FA Cup.
Tottenham are the bottlers of all bottlers. It seems to haunt them every time they’re on the verge of victory.
So, what do you think, can you explain our poor record in Europe? Does it all centre around historical performance? It will be interesting to hear from the older fans on this because they may have seen our European adventures right from the beginning.