Champions League Arsenal
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Arsenal in Europe
The history of Arsenal FC is littered with silverware. The fans who watch Arsenal live week in week out continue to have high expectations of their heroes. However, in Europe’s premier club competition formerly known as the European Cup now the Champions League Arsenal have never quite matched their domestic achievements. Once the bridesmaid but never the bride, for Arsenal champions league success still remains a huge priority. You can catch Arsenal live in Europe here with Live Sport Network.
Arsenal Football Club is no stranger to European club football. Indeed, their first European Cup campaign in 1971/2 which followed their domestic double of the previous season came a mere two years after a Fairs Cup victory. The top table of European club football must have seemed a relatively nice place to be early on as the Gunners hammered Norwegian Champions Stromsgodset 7-1 on aggregate. They followed this up with a 5-0 two-leg victory over Grasshoppers in the second round. Despite such a good start, they were no match for a Johan Cruijff-inspired Ajax team who triumphed 3-1 and went on to lift the trophy that year.
A second shot at the European Cup was denied Arsenal in 1989/90 as English clubs were banned following the Heysel tragedy but two years later they were back. Delight at a first round 6-2 win over Austria Vienna was short-lived as a superior Benfica side ended Arsenal hopes in the next round.
In their first view of the newly-named champions league Arsenal failed to make it through the group stage. Disappointment must have been compounded when Manchester United went on to win the final and become the first club who had not won the domestic cup or league the previous year to accomplish such a feat.
Arsenal have qualified for Champions League football in every season since then either through Premiership titles or the wider qualification criteria giving the top four clubs in the English league a place in at the very least the qualification rounds prior to the group stage.
Between 2000 and 2008 they have won their group no less than 6 times but have failed to progress past the quarter final every time apart from 2006. Arsene Wenger’s men have produced great performances including victories over European giants such as Bayern Munich, Juventus, AS Roma and in 2007/8 knocking out the holders AC Milan. Yet 2006 was their only visit so far to the final.
Having beaten Juventus and Real Madrid amongst others on the way to the final in Paris, they arrived with high hopes and Thierry Henry considered amongst the top strikers in the world game. However, things did not go to plan. They suffered the indignity of having the first ever player dismissed in a Champions League final, and to make things worse it was Jens Lehman, their German international keeper. Despite this. Sol Campbell gave Arsenal the lead and fans dreamed of finally claiming the ultimate club prize. But substitute Henrick Larsson produced a late master class, setting up goals for Eto’o and Belletti and Arsenal’s dreams of Champions League glory were dashed.
The 2008 campaign began in the third qualifying round against an FC Twente side managed by former Middlesbrough and England manager Steve McClaren. This did not prove a problem for the Gunners who eased through 6-0 on aggregate.
A tough looking group draw saw them pitched against Dynamo Kiev, FC Porto and Turkish side Fenerbahce. In what was possibly the performance of the round, Arsenal travelled to Turkey and came away 5-2 winners to shock Fenerbahce. The Turks travelled for the return fixture in London with a renewed determination and fought out a tough 0-0 draw. However, Arsenal maintained their form and ended the group campaign in second place behind Porto.
Arsenal’s reward for group stage progression was a tie with Roma. They swapped 1-0- victories resulting in a penalty shoot-out which the Gunner triumphed 7-6. Villarreal were next and Arsenal made an easier job of the last 16 with a 3-0 win following a 1-1 draw. Manchester United were their semi-final opponents but, as rampant in Europe as they were in the league, the Red Devils went through to the final with a comfortable 4-1 win on aggregate, Arsenal seemingly having reached a stage too far for them in the campaign.
Arsenal return to live Champions League action this season albeit at the newly-created fourth qualifying round; the play-off stages. With Arsene Wenger determined not to give up his dream of achieving Champions League glory for the Gunners, watching Arsenal live in Champions League action during the 2009/10 campaign should prove as exciting as ever.
Watch live Arsenal matches in the Champions League online right here at Free-Football.tv. It is an ideal way of catching up with their progress. You can see coverage of Arsenal live in the Champions League, both at the Emirates and away, courtesy of Live Sports Network. Join today and access live Arsenal matches through our dedicated members area.
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