Cruising along, playing well together, creating good chances, scoring the first goal and then conceding out of nowhere through weak defending and gaining absolutely nothing – that seems to be the story of Arsenal over the past few years.
That same old story occurred once again on Thursday night at the Emirates Stadium after Atletico Madrid’s Šime Vrsaljko was sent off after just 10 minutes into the UEFA Europa League Semi-Final, handing Arsène Wenger’s side a huge opportunity to gain a major advantage over the Spanish giants.
To add to Arsenal’s advantage, a raging Diego Simeone was sent to the stands shortly afterwards, leaving Atletico’s world-best defence to organise themselves and the home fans as fired up as they have been in a while.
The match then played out who you’d expect when there are 11 men against 10 for 80 minutes; the Gunners launched relentless assaults towards the Atletico goal and could have been at least two ahead before half-time, if it was for brilliance from goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
It was at the hour mark of the clash when Alexandre Lacazette fired Arsenal into the lead with his third goal in as many games, but at that point it should’ve been two, three or even four, and the home side were ultimately made to pay for their wastefulness.
A comical piece of defending from captain Laurent Koscienly helped Antoine Griezmann pounce on a long ball over the defence before having his first effort saved by David Ospina but then looping the ball over Shkodran Mustafi to get a crucial away goal for his side.
Drawing against such a prominent side like Atletico Madrid would normally be accepted, but this outcome certainly would’ve felt like a defeat and the frustrations endured was no change to what Arsenal have experienced over the past half-decade or so under Arsène Wenger.
Excluding the past two seasons where the Gunners have barely challenged for a place in the top four, never mind the Premier League title, they’ve conjured up a reputation of strongly challenging for top spot but then meteorically tailing off at around Christmas.
Arsenal’s frustrations have unsurprisingly been the subject of mockery amongst rival fans, who award the London side the ‘4th place trophy’ every season after they finished in fourth place, despite being frontrunners at some point in the season, in six seasons out of nine between 2005-06 and 2013-14.
Despite the clubs long stay in the Champions League under Arsène Wenger, which ended this term, the fact they have managed to be eliminated in the Round of 16 in each of the last seven campaigns also typically sums up the feeling at the club during the latter stages of Wenger’s reign.
Fans of the Gunners will be praying that when a new manager is appointed in the summer, he or she can come into the club and install a whole new mentality straight away to give them the bench chance of escaping the label of a ‘joke club’ after such a prestige history.
Justin is a football sports love and writing news based content on football topic from last decade. He loves to watch football matches live and wants people to buy Arsenal football tickets from authorised dealers in UK.