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UEFA Champions League

Arsenal's heaviest defeats in UEFA Champions League history

Published at :April 2, 2024 at 4:57 PM
Modified at :April 2, 2024 at 4:58 PM
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(Courtesy : FC Bayern)

Manav Chowdhury


The Gunner are yet to lift the UCL trophy

Football can indeed inflict profound pain. Fans endure the agony of watching their beloved team succumb to defeat week after week. Yet, some losses cut deeper than others, whether due to the calibre of the opponent or the sheer magnitude of the scoreline.

Occasionally, a defeat stings so sharply that it resonates beyond the supporters of the losing side, striking a chord with football enthusiasts worldwide. Whether infuriating or humiliating, the most agonizing losses often occur in the grandest stages.

The Champions League stands as the epitome of European football, captivating millions of viewers as the finest club teams vie for supremacy on the grandest of platforms. Arsenal, a club with a rich history, tasted the bitterness of defeat numerous times throughout their Champions League journey. Among these defeats lie some of the most crushing moments in the club’s history.

Here, we recount Arsenal’s most devastating setbacks in the UEFA Champions League, moments that serve as painful reminders of football’s capacity for cruelty.

4. 0-4 v Milan in 2011-12

Throughout much of this period, one of Arsène Wenger’s major headaches was Arsenal’s tendency to finish second in their group, resulting in tougher opponents and away second legs. However, in 2011, Arsenal managed to top their group, only to suffer a crushing defeat at the hands of Milan at San Siro. Robinho struck twice, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic sealing the deal from the penalty spot.

In the return leg at Emirates Stadium, hope flickered as Laurent Koscielny netted an early goal, igniting dreams of a miraculous comeback among the Gunners faithful. Tomas Rosicky and Van Persie added to the tally, making it 3-0 by halftime. Despite Arsenal’s valiant efforts, Milan managed to hold on, leaving the Rossoneri triumphant.

3. 1-5 v Bayern in 2015-16

Facing a formidable Bayern Munich side renowned for their unstoppable attacking force, Arsenal found themselves overwhelmed by the sheer potency of their opponent’s offence. While their first victory in the competition had come against the favourites, Bayern, it was in their subsequent encounter that they suffered their third group stage defeat.

In this match, Bayern asserted their dominance emphatically, with Lewandowski, Müller, Alaba, and Robben all finding the net, leaving Arsenal trailing. Olivier Giroud managed to salvage some pride for Arsenal with a solitary goal, but it was a mere consolation in the face of complete humiliation.

2. 1-5 v Bayern in 2016-17 (1st leg)

Once again, in 2017, it was Bayern Munich who stood as Arsenal’s formidable opponents, Despite Alexis Sanchez’s equalizer following Arjen Robben’s early 11th-minute strike, Bayern unleashed a relentless assault in the second half at the Allianz Arena. Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller found the net on either side of a Thiago Alcantara brace, amplifying Bayern’s dominance.

The fifth goal, scored by Bayern Munich, effectively extinguished any hope Arsenal harboured of advancing to the Champions League quarter-finals. The match concluded with a resounding 5–1 victory for Bayern Munich, plunging Arsène Wenger into immense pressure once again as the Gunners suffered another devastating defeat at the hands of the German giants.

1. 1-5 v Bayern in 2016-17 (2nd leg)

Arsenal’s hopes in the Champions League were dashed at the last-16 stage, marking the seventh consecutive season of disappointment. Despite initially taking the lead with Theo Walcott’s remarkable 20th-minute strike, the tide turned dramatically when Bayern Munich were awarded a penalty, leading to the expulsion of defender Laurent Koscielny.

Reduced to ten men, Arsenal’s defence crumbled as Bayern unleashed an onslaught, netting four goals in a mere 17 minutes. The two-legged affair ended decisively in Bayern’s favour, with a staggering 10-2 aggregate scoreline, further amplifying the agony for Arsenal and their supporters.

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