Arsenal’s worst defeats in Europe
Arsenal may be regulars on the European circuit, having competed in consecutive Champions League competitions between 2000 and 2017. In recent seasons, however, the north Londoners have been playing Europa League football; but that doesn’t stop them receiving a pasting – or shock defeat – every now and again. In fact, it happens more often than not. The most recent came this month at the hands of Belarussian minnows, BATE Borisov, in their Round of 32 first leg tie of the UEFA Europa League. Sorry Gooners’ fans, but we are going to dip in to the archive of Arsenal’s worst defeats in Europe.
2018/19 Europa League: BATE Borisov 1-0 Arsenal
They may be the reigning champions of Belarus; but BATE, who had previously lost to Arsenal 4-2 and 6-0, were massive underdogs going into this Round of 32 clash. In fact, BATE’s record against English sides isn’t great – with their only other win a narrow 1-0 victory against Everton. It may be a narrow defeat, but there were plenty of negatives to take from the game – including managing only three shots on goal and the sending of Alexandre Lacazette, who later apologised to fans on Twitter but will miss their second-leg tie.
2017/18 Europa League: Arsenal 1-2 Östersund
There was much media hype when Östersund made it through to the knockout stages of the Europa League, largely because of English manager, Graham Potter, now of Championship side Swansea City. And when the Gooners won the first-leg of their Round of 32 tie against the Swedish side 3-0, they should have been dead and buried. Fortunately, for Östersund, Arsene Wenger’s side lacked complacency – and two goals in 70 seconds, provided a massive scare for the North Londoners. Thankfully, that’s all it was – and Arsenal pulled one back to go through 4-2 winners on aggregate. But it was a famous win for the Swedish minnows.
2016/17 Champions League: Arsenal 1-5 Bayern Munich
Arsenal faced a difficult Round of 16 tie in 2016/17’s UEFA Champions League, facing a Bayern Munich side that had won their previous 16 home games in the competition. And the Gooners had it all to do, losing the first-leg at the Allianz Arena 5-1. It was the first time in history that Arsenal had conceded five goals in a first-leg of a Champions League match – but they were soon to concede five in the second, too. Walcott pulled a goal back at the Emirates Stadium, before Koscielny was controversially sent off – remember Greek referee Tasos Sidiropoulos showing a yellow card, before upgrading to a red – and Bayern scored five goals in half an hour, to send them through as rampant winners, 10-2 on aggregate. But you know it’s bad when your own players are laughing: see Alexis Sanchez.
2015/16 Champions League: Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 Arsenal
It didn’t look good for Arsenal when they lost their opening group F game in 2015/16’s UEFA Champions League – at the hands of Dinamo Zagreb, who had originally scraped through on away goals in the third qualifying round. Dinamo went in at half time with a one-goal lead, but Arsenal were down to 10-men when Olivier Giroud was shown a second yellow card. Theo Walcott pulled a goal back – but it wasn’t enough and consigned Arsenal to an embarrassing start. Arsenal may have qualified for the knockout phase, with 9 points – but Zagreb finished bottom of the table, with that win and losing their five remaining fixtures.
2014/15 Champions League: Arsenal 1-3 Monaco
Any chances of Arsenal making the quarter-finals of this season’s Champions League were handed a blow, as Monaco ran out 3-1 winners at The Emirates. To rub salt into the wound, former Tottenham Hotspur forward Dimitar Berbatov scored Monaco’s second. It was a night to forget for most of the squad, not least David Ospina who was making his Champions League debut in goal. After the game, Wenger came out and accused his squad of “suicidal defending” – and for a fifth consecutive season, Arsenal were dumped out, before the quarter-finals (a run that continued for a further two years). Want odds on Arsenal to turn it around and progress to the Round of 16? Check out Betfair Europa League.
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