Arsenal loves to think that they are one of the best club teams in the world, but they consistently under perform on the biggest stage. In addition to failing to top Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United in the Premier League, Arsenal also has a long history of poor performances against great teams in the Champions League.
While some clubs can take pride in qualifying for the prestigious tournament every year, that is not something Arsenal should do. They have all of the resources needed to beat any team in the world, but those wins are far too infrequent these days.
Arsenal’s ability to consistently finish near the top of the Premier League has helped them qualify for the Champions League every year since 1999. While this is a very impressive feat, Arsenal usually ends their run in the tournament with disappointment. They have only managed to be one of the final four teams twice during the last 18 years. They have also failed to get out of the Round of 16 for six straight years. A tough draw can be blamed for one or two of those early exits, but Arsenal has to eventually learn how to beat elite teams.
Another problem with Arsenal’s performance in the Champions League is that they are constantly losing by a wide margin. The club’s most recent game in the tournament came against Bayern Munich on February 15. While winning is never easy in front of the wild Munich fans, a team with Arsenal’s talent should never lose 5-1. This blowout loss will lead to another Round of 16 defeat for Arsenal.
The London fans would be able to handle the recent blowout loss a lot easier if it was not a regular occurrence. Arsenal gave up three goals in losses to Barcelona and Monaco before getting knocked out of the tournament the last two years. They also had an embarrassing four-goal loss to AC Milan in 2012. The regular poor showings have to make Arsenal fans wonder if their favorite team will ever be able to defeat an elite team in the Champions League.
Arsenal has the resources to build a powerhouse club, but it is hard to envision them topping any of the top teams very soon. Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid are playing at a different level than the rest of the world right now, and they do not show any signs of slowing down anytime soon. Top players are too reluctant to sign with Arsenal when they know they have a better shot at winning multiple titles elsewhere.
Arsenal’s string of bad luck in the Round of 16 will likely end at some point in the near future, but they probably will not get much further in the tournament. Arsenal needs to make major changes to the roster and coaching staff if they want to compete with the best teams in the world again. If they do not make these moves soon, then Arsenal’s run of mediocrity will only continue.