The last five times Arsenal drew a European knockout first leg – & what happened next

Arsenal face the tough task of needing to go away to Bayern Munich and win – or draw, and come out on top in penalties – after drawing 2-2 with the Bundesliga giants in the first leg of their Champions League quarter final.

The Gunners were the form side and bookmakers’ favourites against Thomas Tuchel’s Bayern, who are set to concede the Bundesliga title for the first time in over a decade.

It all looked to set to go to plan when Bukayo Saka scored early, but Bayern fought back to lead, only for Leandro Trossard’s late equaliser to leave the tie hanging in the balance going into Arsenal’s trip to Bavaria next week.

How have Arsenal fared in the past in these circumstances? We’ve taken a closer look at the last five times that they drew a European first-leg knockout leg.

Besiktas 0-0 Arsenal (August 2014)

You have to go back almost a decade for Arsenal’s last first-leg draw in the Champions League, and that was in a qualifying preliminary as opposed to the tournament proper.

Arsenal infamously exited the competition at the Round of 16 stage for seven successive seasons in Arsene Wenger’s latter years. They led Barcelona going into the second leg in 2011, but went on to pay the price for losing the first leg in each of the six campaigns after that.

A 2-2 quarter-final draw at home to Barcelona all the way back in 2010 (before Lionel Messi scored four at the Camp Nou in the second leg) was the last time they tied a Champions League knockout stage first leg.

Having finished fourth in 2013-14, Wenger’s men had to navigate a tricky qualifier against Besiktas to make it. They took a hard-fought goalless draw, in which Demba Ba struck the crossbar straight from kick-off and Aaron Ramsey was sent off late on, back to the Emirates.

Mathieu Debuchy was also dismissed in the second leg, but Arsenal held their nerve to deny Besiktas a crucial away goal.

Alexis Sanchez’s first goal for the club was a massive one as Arsenal won 1-0 on the night to book their place in the Champions League group stage for a 17th successive season.

Arsenal 1-1 Atletico Madrid (April 2018)

It had already been announced that Wenger was to leave at the end of the season by the time their Europa League semi-final against Diego Simeone’s grizzled Atletico Madrid came around.

The tie represented the legendary Frenchman’s last chance to wave goodbye with silverware, as well as get the club back into the Champions League, with hopes of the top four long gone by that point.

Atletico had exited the Champions League at the group stage, having unthinkably failed to beat Qarabag home and away, but they’d rediscovered their mojo once again by the spring.

Talisman Antoine Griezmann was in some of the best form of his career and scored a late equaliser at the Emirates in the first leg, in which Sime Vrsaljko’s second yellow saw them reduced to 10 men in the 11th minute.

Lax defending, featuring – who else? – Shkodran Mustafi and a failure to capitalise on their man advantage gave Arsenal the unenviable task of needing to score in the Spanish capital.

Simeone’s men did what they do best and ground out a narrow 1-0 victory at the Wanda Metropolitano, with familiar foe Diego Costa providing the killer blow.

Arsene Wenger, Pep Guardiola, Sir Alex Ferguson (l-r)

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Benfica 1-1 Arsenal (February 2021)

The 2020-21 season was one of Arsenal’s worst in recent memory. They finished eighth in the Premier League and failed to deliver any major silverware after promisingly kicking off the campaign with a Community Shield penalty shootout victory over champions Liverpool.

They did at least have some fun in the Europa League group stage, winning all six matches and scoring 20 goals to set up a Round of 16 bout with Portuguese giants Benfica. A young Bukayo Saka cancelled out Pizzi’s opener in Lisbon.

Benfica went on to score two away goals and lead at the Emirates in the second leg, but Mikel Arteta’s side produced a spirited fightback in a five-goal thriller. Arsenal won 3-2, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sealing it late on.

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Arsenal 1-1 Slavia Prague (April 2021)

After dispatching Benfica, Arteta’s Gunners then made it past Olympiakos – surviving a home defeat in the second leg – to then face Czech champions Slavia Prague in the quarters.

Nicolas Pepe scored late on to give Arsenal what looked like a solid win at the Emirates in the first leg, only for Tomas Holes to equalise for Slavia Prague deep into injury time.

A tricky trip to the Czech Republic for the in-the-balance second leg was made that bit easier with just 750 spectators allowed in the stadium during that covid-hit campaign. Arsenal ran rampant in Prague, thrashing the hosts 4-0 after racing to a three-goal lead inside the opening 25 minutes.

They then went on to lose, 2-1 on aggregate, to Unai Emery’s Villarreal in the semis.

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

Sporting 2-2 Arsenal (March 2023)

Arsenal were still in sensational form, riding the crest of the wave of a surprise title charge, when they faced Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League Round of 16 last season.

But it was this point that cracks started to appear, in particular after key defender William Saliba suffered a season-ending back injury in the second leg.

A 2-2 draw in Lisbon looked less creditable after the away goals rule was done away with. Pedro Goncalves cancelled out Granit Xhaka’s early opener at the Emirates and Ruben Amorim’s men went on to take the tie to penalties, progressing after they scored all five and Gabriel Martinelli missed for the hosts.