The UEFA Champions League group stage draw is here, and the last time the name “Arsenal FC” wasn’t in the draw was way back in the 1996/1997 season. It is definitely a remarkable achievement by Arsenal Football Club and Arsene Wenger, who showed consistency and stability throughout.
With that being said, Arsenal are in the Champions League for the 17th consecutive time, a feast only matched by Manchester Untied. When thinking of how Arsenal competed for the title in the late 90’s to the early 2000’s, it wouldn’t be difficult to predict that the team would easily qualify. But in the later stages when Arsenal were in huge debt from building a new stadium and with the teams competing with the club going from just Manchester United, to include Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and recently Manchester City, qualification hasn’t been a foregone conclusion.
Considering the budget Arsene Wenger worked with compared to his direct rivals in the league, it is a remarkable achievement. Arsenal not only qualified to every group stage, they also qualified to each and every round of 16.
Looking at teams like Liverpool, Tottenham and most recently Manchester United tells you how difficult it is to maintain that standard of competing with the best in the world. Qualifying for the Champions League is also a financial boast for any European team, it attracts top players to your club and it allows your current players to grow by competing with the best in the world. A most recent example is Manchester United, after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson they found it tough to replicate his successes in achieving top four status, which resulted in them buying players with inflated prices like Luke Shaw for £30m and Angel Di Marìa for £60m. Had they qualified for the Champions League, I am sure that the players would have gone to Manchester with lower price tags.
Coming back to Arsenal, I believe it is time Arsene Wenger stepped it up a notch and competed fiercely for the Champions League trophy. Not only are Arsenal the most successful club in the competition to not win the trophy, there is no other manager in world football who deserves the trophy more than the Frenchman. Let’s not forget the record Arsenal achieved in the 2005-2006 season when they went all the way to the finals and didn’t concede a single goal in the process (995 minutes to be exact). That was until the 76th minute of the final, when Samuel Eto’o opened the score for FC Barcelona against a back four consisting of Emmanuel Eboue, Kolo Toure, Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole.
Now that Arsene has more money to work with, I am sure that he will deliver a Champions League trophy. Arsenal Football Club deserves it for the stability and hard work they showed throughout the years, the fans deserve it and last but not least Arsene Wenger deserves it for proving his loyalty, professionalism and love for this club.
Let me know what you think of our chances. Will we win the Champions League under Arsene Wenger?
Daniel is a 24 year-old Arsenal fan from Lebanon. He was born in Orlando, Florida, but grew up -and now resides – in war-torn Beirut. He has a degree in Business Marketing and is currently studying for a FIFA Sports Management Certificate.