Arsenal may have made it through to the Champions League group stage for the 17th season in a row, but they have yet to win the competition.
The North London outfit are one of the biggest and most popular clubs in the world, yet when it comes to European competitions, they are perennial underachievers.
So far in their history, Arsenal have won the European Cup Winners’ Cup (once) and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (once). The Gunners reached the final of the Champions League in 2006 and even took in the lead against Barcelona in Paris, but conceded twice to lose 2-1.
Why is it that Arsene Wenger’s side, who consistently finish in the top four of the Premier League, always fail in Europe?
According to Manchester United legend Paul Scholes, Arsenal do not have the mental strength to compete with the biggest teams in Europe.
‘They (Arsenal) always qualify and always seem to get through the group’, the former England international midfielder told ITV Sport.
‘The only problem with Arsenal is when they meet top teams, they don’t seem to have the consistent level of mental strength to get through it’.
Arsenal fans may not like what Scholes says, but his reasoning cannot be brushed off easily. In the last four seasons, the 13-time English champions have been knocked out at the round-of-16 stage by Bayern Munich (2014, 2013), AC Milan (2012) and Barcelona (2011).
One could argue that Arsenal do not have – or at least did not have – the quality of players that the likes of Bayern, Barcelona and Real Madrid do, but there have been instances over the past few years in which an inferior team (or a surprise package) have gone far into the competition.
However, hope springs eternal. Perhaps this season Arsenal will step up their game in the Champions League.