Do Arsenal have a mental block when it comes to European competitions?

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Will Arsenal ever conquer Europe? by Jonbo

I wouldn’t change being an Arsenal fan for anything, but one thing that has always pained me is our terrible record in Europe. How can such a huge club (domestically at least) be so bad in Europe?

38 seasons in Europe, and only two victories. The European Cup Winners’ Cup 93/94;

Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 69/70 (which became the UEFA Cup, then the Europa League)

Key stats:

8 final appearances, and 11 semi-finals in all European competitions

21 appearances in the Champions League (CL)

2 semi-finals and 1 final appearance in the CL

Lost our last 5 finals in European competition

28 years since our last victory in Europe

Top 20 Clubs with European titles:

European trophy abbreviations in tier order:

CL = Champions League / European Cup; CWC = Cup Winners’ Cup;

EL = Europa League / Uefa Cup / Inter-Cities Fairs Cup; ECL = Europa Conference League

Winning a CL title is huge, but I do think a club of Sevilla’s size winning 6 EL titles deserves a lot of recognition, hence their position above some clubs with only one CL title.

Real Madrid – 14 x CL; 2 x EL

Milan – 7 x CL; 2 x CWC

Liverpool – 6 x CL; 3 x EL

Bayern Munich – 6 x CL; 1 x EL; 1 x CWC

Barcelona – 5 x CL; 4 x CWC; 3 x EL

Ajax – 4 x CL; 1 x EL; 1 x CWC

Inter Milan – 3 x CL; 3 x EL

Man Utd – 3 x CL; 1 x EL; 1 x CWC

Juventus – 2 x CL; 3 x EL; 1 x CWC

Benfica – 2 x CL

Chelsea – 2 x CL; 2 x EL; 2 x CWC

Nottm Forest – 2 x CL

Porto – 2 x CL; 2 x EL

Feyenoord – 1 x CL; 2 x EL

Seville – 6 x EL

Hamburger SV – 1 x CL; 1 x CWC

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Dortmund – 1 x CL; 1 x CWC

PSV – 1 x CL; 1 x EL

Celtic – 1 x CL

Steaua București – 1 x CL

Arsenal in comparison to British clubs in Europe:

Liverpool – 6 x CL; 3 x EL

Man Utd – 3 x CL; 1 x EL; 1 x CWC

Chelsea – 2 x CL; 2 x EL; 2 x CWC

Nottm Forest – 2 x CL

Celtic – 1 x CL

Aston Villa – 1 x CL

Spurs – 2 x EL; 1 x CWC

Arsenal – 1 x CWC; 1 x EL

Leeds – 2 x EL

West Ham – 1 x CWC

Rangers – 1 x CWC

Aberdeen – 1 x CWC

Man City – 1 x CWC

Everton – 1 x CWC

Ipswich – 1 x EL

Newcastle – 1 x EL

I have been following Arsenal for around half of their time playing in Europe, and I have been disappointed on the whole. Never more so than under Wenger. He had us playing the best football anyone had ever seen in England, yet we just could not take those performances into Europe.

Even comparing ourselves against British clubs, our record doesn’t look too pretty. The way things are going, Man City will probably win the CL before we do, and it would not surprise me if Newcastle win more silverware in Europe than us over the next 10/15 years.

I always feel history always plays a major role in how teams perform in specific competitions. Doesn’t matter how bad we are, we always seem to turn up in the FA Cup. Liverpool had a really poor 30 years in the league up until recently, yet always did something in Europe meanwhile. Real Madrid can be having poor domestic campaigns, but seem to completely switch mentality when it comes to the CL.

In fact, so good are Real in the CL, they’ve won their last 8 finals in the competition, with their last CL final defeat coming against Liverpool in 80/81.

It would be great to hear from the older fans that may have followed Arsenal’s European journey since day one, and their thoughts on this topic. Will Arsenal ever win the CL? Will Arsenal win ANY European trophy again? I wouldn’t even fancy ourselves in the Europa Conference League.

Jonbo

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