As the Premier League season begins to wind down, the European Cup competitions are only just heating up. Arsenal qualified for the Europa League quarter-finals after beating Rennes 4-3 on aggregate. We’ve delved into the Gunners’ European record and give you a quick recap of how they did.
The Gunners have never won a modern European cup, with their only European honours being the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1970, which was abolished the very next year, and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994, which was abolished in 1999.
But, they have a pretty decent record against Italian sides, having played Italian teams 35 times in their history in European football. Arsenal have won 18 times, drawn nine and been beaten eight times, boasting a 51% win rate.
As Arsenal prepare to face Napoli in the Europa League quarter-final first leg this Thursday, we’ve had a look at their European history and how they’ve fared in the competitions.
1971-72 European Cup - Quarter-final
Arsenal progressed into the quarter-final of the European Cup (now the Champions League) after beating Swiss side Grasshopper 5-0 on aggregate.
They then faced Ajax who beat them 3-1 on aggregate, the only Arsenal goal coming from Ray Kennedy.
Ajax went on to win the trophy, beating Inter Milan in the final 2-0, with goals from none other than Johan Cruyff.
1999-2000 UEFA Cup - Runners Up
Arsenal seemingly dominated the competition, beating Club Deportivo 5-3 on aggregate in the Round of 16, Werder Bremen 6-2 on aggregate in the Quarter-finals.
Arsene Wenger’s men beat French side Lens 3-1 over two legs to progress to the final in Copenhagen where they faced Galatasaray.
The final was goalless after extra time with the Turkish side winning 4-1 on penalties – Ray Parlour the only Gunner to score his pen.
2000-01 Champions League - Quarter-final
The Gunners finished second to Bayern Munich in their second group stage, beating Lyon and Spartak Moscow to qualify for the quarter-finals. They were swiftly knocked out of the competition by Spanish side Valencia. Arsenal won their first leg 2-1 thanks to goals from Thierry Henry and Ray Parlour, but a single goal from John Carew for Valencia saw the Spaniards go through on away goals.
2003-04 Champions League - Quarter-final
Arsene Wenger’s side topped Group B and qualified alongside Lokomotiv Moscow, beating Inter Milan and Dynamo Kyiv to qualify for the Round of 16.
The Gunners then drew Celta Vigo, who they beat 5-2 on aggregate. The draw saw Arsenal face Chelsea in the Quarter-finals.
The London derby ended with Chelsea winning 3-2 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw in the first leg. A Frank Lampard goal and an 87th-minute winner from Wayne Bridge saw Arsenal eliminated.
It didn’t really matter in the end as Arsenal ended the season winning the Premier League. The only ever side to win it unbeaten and thus “the Invincibles” were born.
2005-06 Champions League - Runners-Up
2005-06 saw Arsenal finish their highest in the history of the Champions League. A Round of 16 victory against Spanish giants Real Madrid, thanks to Thierry Henry, saw them face Italian giants Juventus in the Quarter-final.
A 2-0 win at Highbury, with goals from Henry and Cesc Fabregas, was enough to see the Gunners through after a goalless draw in Turin. The London side then faced Villareal in the Semi-finals, beating them 1-0 on aggregate. The only goal coming from Kolo Touré at Highbury.
Sol Campbell scored first in the final against Barcelona in Stade de France, but goals from Samuel Eto’o and Juliano Belletti saw the Spanish giants pick up the trophy.
2007-08 Champions League - Quarter-final
Arsenal drew Italian side AC Milan in the Round of 16 after finishing second in their group to Sevilla. A 0-0 draw at the Emirates meant Arsenal needed a win at the San Siro to go through. An 84th-minute goal from Cesc Fabregas and a 92nd winner from Emmanuel Adebayor meant the Gunners won 2-0 on aggregate.
The London side then drew fellow English team Liverpool in the Quarters. A 1-1 draw at the Emirates meant it was all to play for at the return leg at Anfield. After taking the lead early on through Abou Diaby, it looked like the Gunners were going through.
The final score ended at 4-2, with Emmanuel Adebayor’s equaliser being cancelled out by a Steven Gerrard penalty and a 92nd-minute goal by Ryan Babel.
2008-09 Champions League - Semi-final
2008-09 saw Arsenal draw AS Roma in the Round of 16. A Robin Van Persie penalty was enough to grab the win at the Emirates but was cancelled out by an early goal in the reverse fixture at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome meaning penalties. Eduardo missed the first Arsenal pen, but it didn’t prove fatal as all 7 players who stepped up for Arsenal scored, with two Roma misses the only difference.
The penalty win meant that the Gunners faced Villareal in the Quarter-finals. The sides drew 1-1 in Spain, but a 3-0 victory in London meant Arsenal were through to the Semi-finals.
The Semis saw another all-English clash as Arsenal drew Manchester United. United won 4-1 on aggregate, with Cristiano Ronaldo bagging a brace at the Emirates.
2009-10 Champions League - Quarter-final
Arsenal topped Group H and drew Porto in the Round of 16. The Portuguese side won their home leg 2-1, with Radamel Falcao grabbing the winner.
The reverse fixture saw the Gunners dominate and win 5-0, the highlight being a Nicklas Bendtner hat-trick. Barcelona were the next opponents after being drawn to face Arsenal in the Quarter-finals. A 2-2 draw at the Emirates meant that all was to play for at the Camp Nou.
Arsenal struck first through a Nicklas Bendtner goal. But Barcelona fought back and the score ended 4-1 on the night. Goals came from none other than Lionel Messi, including a first-half hat-trick. What can we say?
2017-18 Europa League - Semi-final
After finishing 5th, Arsenal entered the Europa League. They topped Group H and beta Swedish side Östersund 4-2 on aggregate in the Round of 32. The win meant ties against AC Milan, who Arsenal beat comfortably 5-1 over two legs.
The Quarter-finals saw the Gunners face CSKA Moscow. Goals from Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette in the first leg saw Arsenal win 4-1 at the Emirates. The reverse fixture proved a little more difficult, with goals from Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey cancelling out CSKA Moscow’s two goals.
Arsenal drew Atletico Madrid in the Semi-finals. Antoine Griezmann’s 82nd goal at the Emirates cancelled out Lacazette’s and saw both sides head to the Wanda Metropolitano on level pegging. It was ex-Chelsea man Diego Costa’s goal that proved vital and Atletico progressed to the final in Lyon where they beat Marseille 3-0 to win the competition.