Arsenal’s quintet of European defeats

Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat to Barcelona on Tuesday night means the Gunners are once again on the verge of being knocked out of the UEFA Champions League at the last 16 stage.

In each of the five previous seasons, Arsenal Wenger’s side lost at this stage, and while there is a certain ‘Groundhog Day’ feel to defeats, questions have to be asked about the Frenchman’s tactics during knock-out ties in European competitions, particularly considering their knack of doing well in the second legs with the tie already basically lost.

In Arsenal’s defense, they seem to be drawn against the likes of Barcelona and Bayern München often, but those sorts of matches can often be avoided if you finish first during the Group stage.

We take a recall what happened during Arsenal’s previous ‘glorious defeats’ in the Champions League:

2011: Barcelona win 4-3 on aggregate

After winning the first leg 2-1, Arsenal traveled to the Nou Camp in high spirits, but fell short after a tense second leg in Catalonia.

Lionel Messi put Barca in front but the Gunners were given a reprieve following Sergio Busquets’ own goal. After Robin van Persie was sent off in the second half, Xavi Hernández and Messi put Pep Guardiola’s side into the last eight.

2012: AC Milan win 4-3 on aggregate

The Rossoneri thumped Wenger’s side 4-0 in the first leg, but in typical Arsenal manner, they nearly turned it around in the second leg.

Goals from Laurent Koscielny, Tomas Rosicky and Robin van Persie brought the Gunners back into the tie, but they fell agonisingly short after the Dutchman missed a glorious chance to equalise late on in the second leg.

2013: Bayern München win 3-3 due to the away goals rule

The Bavarians outplayed Arsenal at the Emirates and went back to Germany three away goals to good having won 3-1 on the night.

The Londoners handed Bayern their first defeat in 12 matches when Olivier Giroud scored early on and Koscielny set up a grand stand finish late in the second half, but ultimately Arsenal fell just short.

2014: Bayern München win 3-1 on aggregate

In what was a beautiful chance for Arsenal to rectify the mistakes from the year before, it was more a case of history repeating itself in the first leg, with Bayern cruising to a 2-0 win at the Emirates.

Bastian Schweinsteiger gave the Germans the lead on the night but after Lukas Podolski leveled matters shortly after, hopes of a remarkable turn-around were restored. No further drama followed and Arsenal were sent packing once again.

2015: Monaco win 3-3 due to the away goals rule

Monaco outsmarted Arsenal in the first leg and went back to the Principality with a 3-1 advantage in the tie. Once again, Arsenal kept their best for the second leg and once again nearly turned it around.

Giroud halved the deficit early on in the second leg, while Aaron Ramsey brought the Gunners level with 11 minutes remaining, albeit still trailing on away goals. Once again, the final goal required never came and Wenger’s side was knocked out in the last 16 for the fifth successive year.

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