Another English Premier League team has bitten the dust in the 2014/15 European Champions League as Arsenal was ousted on the away-goals rule after leveling their two-legged tie against Monaco 3-3 on March 18. The Gunners dropped the first leg of their round-of-16 tie 3-1 at home at the Emirates Stadium in London two weeks ago and managed to win the second leg 2-0 in Monaco. However, they needed one more goal to guarantee themselves a berth in the quarterfinals.
With Monaco advancing it means there will be two French Ligue 1 clubs in the final eight of the event for the first time in the past five years. Paris Saint Germain is the other French squad to advance and they also progressed at the expense of a Premier League club with a 3-3 aggregate which was decided by away goals. Chelsea currently leads the top tier of English soccer while Arsenal sits in third place. The Gunners gave it their all at the Stade Louis II in Monaco, but were eliminated because they didn’t produce the same effort at home.
Arsenal was labeled an eternal loser by the French press and it’s hard to argue with them. The English side has reached the final of the Champions League just once in the past 18 years and was naturally beaten. They’ve now been knocked out of the event in the round-of-16 stage five years running. Arsenal had enough chances to win this match by the three goals they needed, but Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic was superb even though he allowed two goals.
bet365 lists Arsenal’s odds of winning this year’s FA Cup at 5/6 while they’re at 1/10 to finish in the top four of the Premier League this season.
French international striker Olivier Giroud opened the scoring in the 36th minute and the two sides went to the dressing room at halftime with the visitors leading 1-0. Welsh international midfielder doubled the lead in the 78th minute and it appeared Arsenal might score the crucial third goal to sneak through 4-3 on aggregate. But like so many Gunners’ performances in the past the fell short of the mark. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who should be used to seeing his team ousted at this stage, left the pitch without shaking the hand of Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim and was roundly criticized for his lack of sportsmanship.
Another Gunner who came under fire from the press and fans was German international midfielder Mesut Ozil for swapping his shirt with Monaco’s Ricardo Carvalho at halftime. So once again under Wenger Arsenal is heading home and the club is no closer to winning a Premier League or Champions League under his guidance even though he’s had the money to buy numerous players. The Gunners are still alive in the FA Cup though as they try to retain that crown by facing Championship League side Reading in the semifinals.
Many Arsenal fans are satisfied with top-four finishes and underachieving performances in the Champions League year after year while others insist it’s time for Wenger to move on.