Arsenal are in their first Champions League quarter-final since 2010.

The last 7 times Arsenal went deep in Europe – & how it affected their league campaign

The Arsenal are going deep in Europe again and, you know what? They might just win the whole bloody thing.

Incredibly, this is the first time the Gunners have reached the Champions League quarterfinals since 2009-10, but they do have a precedent of reaching the latter stages of European competitions. European success, however, often comes at a domestic cost.

We dipped into the archives to see how the North Londoners fared each of the last seven times they reached at least the quarterfinals of a European competition, to see if we could predict how their Premier League campaign might unfold this season.

2020-21:  Europa League – Semifinals / Premier League – 8th

In Mikel Arteta’s first full season at the club, they sold Emi Martinez to Villa, lost to Villareal in the Europa League semis, and finished in their joint-lowest league position since 1995. #ArtetaOut

In all honesty, come the spring their league campaign had already proven so underwhelming that a European run was a welcome distraction from the misery of the week-to-week grind and eventually proved their only possible avenue into the Champions League.

Defeat to Unai Emery’s Yellow Submarine – 2-1 away, 0-0 at home – proved to be the final nail in one of the club’s worst seasons of the modern era, but at least hitting rock bottom allowed Arteta to build what he has today.

Once out of Europe, they actually responded by winning their final five league outings. It was too little too late to salvage anything that year, but in hindsight it can be viewed as the start of their turnaround.

Arteta has been in charge at the Emirates since December 2019.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every player to appear for Arsenal under Mikel Arteta?

2018-19: Europa League  – Runners-up / Premier League – 5th

Unai Emery did what Unai Emery does best in 2018-19, and took the Gunners to a Europa League Final. Henrikh Mkhitaryan didn’t travel with the squad over fears for the Armenian’s safety in Azerbaijan, and Arsenal ended up getting a good flogging, losing 4-1 to Chelsea in Baku.

What’s more, Arsenal missed out on the top four in the Prem despite 22 league goals from Aubameyang, finishing just one point behind… a particularly ordinary Tottenham. A huge opportunity missed.

While a 7-3 aggregate victory over Valencia in the Europa League semis was entertainingly bonkers, those late-season victories coincided with a dramatic dip in form come the run-in. Emery’s Gunners took just seven of the last 21 points available – losing to Everton, Crystal Palace, Wolves and Leicester – a run that ultimately cost them a place back at the top table of European football.

2017-18: Europa League – Semifinals / Premier League – 6th

Arsene Wenger’s final season in London ended in defeat away to eventual champions Atletico Madrid and a Premier League table that saw the Gunners wedged between Chelsea and Burnley. Rough.

Those latter-stage European excursions corresponded with some poor results in the league – defeats away to Newcastle, Manchester United and Leicester –  but ultimately they finished a distant 12 points behind fourth-place Liverpool. Europa League was just the club’s level at the time.

2009-10: Champions League – Quarterfinals / Premier League – 3rd

Last time the North Londoners got to the Champions League Quarters they got battered 4-1 away at Camp Nou and Leo Messi scored all four goals. A third-place finish is nothing to be sniffed at but Arteta’s side will be hoping to better that this season.

After that Messi-inflicted trauma, Arsenal took one point from four games and finished 11 points behind the champions Chelsea. The maths there make for some grim reading.

Don’t worry, Gooners, Messi is in Miami. Lionel Messi can’t hurt you.

Arsenal's Theirry Henry celebrates his goal against Chelsea in the Premier League. Highbury in London, October 18, 2003.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name Arsenal’s 30 top goalscorers of all time?

2008-09: Champions League – Semifinals / Premier League – 4th

This was the season in which Andrey Arshavin scored four goals past Liverpool in a 4-4 draw. Classic.

Arsenal lost both legs of the Champions League semifinal with Manchester United, and Lord Nicklas Bendtner got in trouble at a nightclub after the second leg loss, leading to a public apology. Zoinks.

That season, from late November onwards, Arsenal only actually lost one league game. But there were a lot of draws in there, and the home-and-away Champions League defeats, 4-1 on aggregate, were as big a statement of the chasm between Wenger’s side and Manchester United as the eventual 18-point difference in the table.

Going deep into Europe or not, Arsenal were always destined to finish somewhere from 2nd and 4th that year. They were never competing with Sir Alex Ferguson’s last truly great United.

2007-08: Champions League – Quarterfinals / Premier League – 3rd

Decent effort considering it was their first Thierry-less season. Only missed out on the title by four points and defeat in the Champions League to a Fernando Torres-inspired Liverpool is nothing to be embarrassed about.

But the 2007-08 campaign will always be remembered for a massive wobble which began with Eduardo’s leg break and William Gallas’ strop in a 2-2 draw away to Birmingham.

That dagger just three days after a gruelling 0-0 Round of 16 draw at home to Milan, and they proceeded to win just one of eight Premier League games, all the while progressing to the quarters with a win away at the San Siro.

Arsenal falling away that year looked less about European distractions and more about a fragile neurosis that came to the fore that afternoon at St. Andrew’s. There’s every chance they’d have held it together that year had Eduardo not suffered that horror injury.

READ: William Gallas at Arsenal: Captain of chaos who sat down in a strop

2005-06: Champions League – Runners-up / Premier League – 4th

This one would be the final seasons of Robert Pires, Ashley Cole, Lauren, and Sol Campbell, and Dennis Bergkamp at the Arsenal. It was also the Gunners’ final season at Highbury, and they made the most of it.

Reaching the Champions League Final was huge, but it was the beginning of Barca’s European dominance — unlucky.

They might have done better in the league were it not for energy-sapping, double-legged knockout clashes with Real Madrid, Juventus and Villarreal, but that can’t account for the massive 24 points they finished behind the champions, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.

Arsenal have only won the Premier League AND made it out of the group stage of the Champions League ONCE in their history.

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