After another night of failure in Europe, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has made the stunning claim that his side would be better off in the Europa League next season, after repeatedly failing to make an impact in the Champions League.
On Tuesday night, Arsenal once again exited the Champions League at the first knockout stage, despite winning 2-0 win in Monaco. The Gunners lost out on away goals rule following their 3-1 first-leg defeat at the Emirates last month.
It is all good and well that Arsenal can celebrate that they have been in the Champions League for 17 straight seasons, but Arsenal fans have to wonder what they really gives them if they finish second in their group every year and exit the competition almost as soon as the knockout stages have begun.
The third-placed team in each Champions League group move into the Europa League rather than a total exit from Europe, and the Arsenal boss believes that might be a better silverware opportunity.
When asked whether he was unhappy at Arsenal’s repeated exits at the second-round stage, Wenger said:
‘Yes, but sometimes we have been beaten by opponents who were in the final.
‘Perhaps it would be better not to go out like this and make the Europa League, we would be more likely to win.’
The Arsenal boss also told L’Equipe that he thought his team’s performance was good but that they left themselves too much to do after a poor showing in London last month.
‘The performance was good, it was a difficult task,’ Wenger said. ‘They surprised us in the first game because subconsciously we were too sure of ourselves.
‘In the second half, we lacked a bit of freshness. I am very disappointed to be knocked out, of course, but I will remember a lot of positives from this game.’
This was not Bayern Munich or Barcelona that knocked Arsenal out of the Champions League. It was Monaco, the weakest top seed in the competition. Once again it was the Gunners naivety in defense that was their downfall. To ben left open to a counter attack in the closing minutes of the first leg cost Arsenal the tie, and not for the first time. Time and time again Arsenal push players forward, leaving themselves open to a the counter attack and despite teams continually punishing them, they continue to do it. At some point you have to wonder about the defensive coaching that they are getting.
Arsenal’s Champions League Exists Since Losing In Final
2015 – beaten by Monaco, last 16
2014 – beaten by Bayern Munich, last 16
2013 – beaten by Bayern Munich, last 16
2012 – beaten by AC Milan, last 16
2011 – beaten by Barcelona, last 16
2010 – beaten by Barcelona, quarter-final
2009 – beaten by Manchester United, semi-final
2008 – beaten by Liverpool, quarter-final
2007 – beaten by PSV Eindhoven, last 16