Arsenal in the Champions League. How are our rivals doing at the moment?




Today’s Anniversary: Arsenal score their fastest ever goal in the Champions League

By Bulldog Drummond

The last time Arsenal got beyond the round of 16 in the Champions League was way back in 2009/10 when we reached the quarter-finals.  Then, having drawn at home, Arsenal went to Barcelona on 6 April, 14 years ago, and lost 4-0.   The team was


Clich, Silvestre, Vermaelen, Sagna

Denilson, Diaby, Nasris, Rosicky

Walcott, Bendtner

After that were seven consecutive years of going out of the competition in the round of 16, followed by the five years in the Uefa League.   There we had one year as runners-up (2018/19), two semi-finals,  and two exits in the round of 16.

But here we are back in the big cup once again, although knowing that out there there are some pretty big clubs with huge amounts of money invested in their teams. 

To get a feeling of the current opposition we can look at a piece recently in the Radio Times which ran an evaluation of the top teams in Europe at the moment…

  1. Manchester City
  2. Real Madrid
  3. Arsenal
  4. Liverpool
  5. Bayern Munich
  6. Inter Milan
  7. Barcelona
  8. PSG
  9. Napoli
  10. Tottenham Hotspur

Now the inclusion of the noisy neighbours in the top ten tells us that standards have been falling of late.  Even the writer of the piece notes that the only thing they have won this century is the league cup in 2008.   They go on to refer to the “state-of-the-art stadium” (although actually guys, stadia don’t win you games), and “the steadily assembled squad of talents on the rise, the infectiously ambitious manager” plus a recruitment programme that “has been nothing short of sublime.”  (They are fifth at the moment).

So if Tottenham are that good how good are Arsenal?   “Arsenal’s growth under the Spanish gaffer,” they tell us “has been nothing short of remarkable, winning almost 60 per cent of his first 200 matches in charge of the club…” commenting particularly that, “This team can go toe-to-toe with any team in world football and will only continue to develop positively.”

And certainly this is a different Europe from when we were last in the Champions League.  Inter Milan are top in Italy but at the start of this year were deemed by Essentially Sports website to  be “facing a severe financial crisis,” with only “the transfer fees of former players, Marcelo Brozovic and Andre Onana” keeping them financially afloat.  Their plan was to play in the Super League, without that they don’t seem to have a financial plan.”

Bayern Munich of course don’t have financial problems at all, but they are perennial winners of the German League having won it 11 times in a row.  This season they are currently second, eight points behind Leverkusen.   Perhaps not a crisis, but a little unusual.

10 months ago the Guardian told us PSG were in crisis, “amid a fallout with the World Cup winner Lionel Messi and extraordinary demonstrations by angry supporters against club chiefs and outside the Brazilian forward Neymar’s house.”   But they are 13 points ahead at the top of the French league above the mighty Brest in second place.  Although the fans are said to be revolting and it seems certain Mbappe will leave at the end of the season.

As for Napoli, the headline in France 24 this morning is “Napoli are once again trying to start afresh as they face Barcelona in the Champions League after sacking their second manager of a disastrous season.”

And Barcelona?  They are third in the Spanish league at the moment and in June were declared bankrupt, surviving only by selling the TV rights to their future games.and according to Goal have put all their players up for sale.

Then there is Manchester City.  Still facing 100+ charges of financial mismanagement from the rest of the Premier League, they are third in the Premier League with a game in hand, although they have scored fewer goals than Arsenal and let in more.

So how does Arsenal compare with this bunch of ne’er-do-wells at the top of European football?  According to In the 2022/23 season, Arsenal FC generated a total of 533 million euros in revenue, representing an increase of over 20 percent on the previous year. Overall, the club placed 10th worldwide in terms of total revenue.”

So, a fair amount of uncertainty and upheaval among our main rivals in the competition this year.   Although of course some of this could go against Arsenal.  Liverpool are losing their manager, but he could go out with a bang.   Manchester City are being challenged over their finances, but if there is a negative outcome for them, they will of course appeal and that could take another year.

Real Madrid might be a big challenge to Arsenal, although in the longer term they look to have awful financial issues as they have been borrowing money from Legends – Sixth Street and it is hard to know how that is going to be paid back.

So Arsenal to go all the way?   Well, that could be a lot to ask, but with clubs around Europe having now run out of cash, the coming years could be rather jolly.  This might be a year or two too early for Arsenal in Europe, but this could be the start of the New Era.




One Reply to “Arsenal in the Champions League. How are our rivals doing at the moment?”

  1. Look, I expect us talking about our noisy neighbours will bring along a couple of the ‘You’re obsessed with Spurs’ comments, but I think the fact they keep snooping on this blog like some jealous neighbour peering over the fence at his neighbours pool, rather undermines them. But hey, they are welcome here, if just being amongst winners makes them feel happy.

    Anyway, as a retired person with way way too much time on my hands I thought I’d Just make a couple of observations. You know, just to waste some time before setting off to my gig tonight.

    “Now the inclusion of the noisy neighbours in the top ten tells us that standards have been falling of late. Even the writer of the piece notes that the only thing they have won this century is the league cup in 2008″.

    I know. This notion that Spurs are a ‘big club’ is a bit baffling to say the least.

    They have won just 2 league cups since 1991, that’s 33 years, and no titles since 1961, which is of course 63 years.

    How does that qualify you as a big club?

    I know we’ve had a poor run regarding titles, failing to win one for almost 20 years, but less we forget Liverpool went 30 years without a title between 1990 and 2020 and nobody suggested they wasn’t a big club. It happens. But like us, at least they still kept winning the odd major trophy, and in Liverpools case that of course included the CL.

    So, if it’s not actually winning things that makes you a big club, what is it? Well as suggested in the article, maybe this:

    They go on to refer to the “state-of-the-art stadium”

    So, okay they do have a great new 62,000 plus stadium to win nothing in, but lots of other clubs play at similar or larger capacity stadiums, Dortmund, Marseille and Benfica, to name but 3. And not only that but just for good measure they also win things. Since 1991:

    Marseille: 3 titles 2 Super Cups 3 League Cups

    Benfica: 9 titles 5 FA cups 7 League Cups

    Dortmund: 5 titles 3 FA cups

    yet despite all that they don’t make the list, so again it cant be trophies, and it’s not stadium capacity either.

    So, is it:

    “the steadily assembled squad of talents on the rise”

    Hmm, on the rise they say.

    First 10 games of the season Spurs attained 86% of available points, meaning Spurs had the title in the bag in November, again!!! Except of course this is Spurs and we all know what happened next. Yep, they went all ‘Spursy’ again.

    Since then they’ve attained just 46% of the available points. Don’t see much of a rise there, in fact it’s very similar to the kind of rise I get………lets not go there!!!!!

    So it cant be that.

    How about:

    “the infectiously ambitious manager”

    Well. I’m not really sure who he’s infecting, but aren’t all managers ambitious? And anyway, what is the point in the manager being ambitious if the owners wont, or to be fair, cant spend money on the team, or at least not enough money?

    So it cant be that either.

    So it must be this:

    … a recruitment programme that “has been nothing short of sublime.”


    This from the editorial of one of Spurs biggest Blogs following Saturdays 1-2 loss to Wolves:

    “It was a deeply disheartening performance, made all the more annoying by increased background whispers of “Ange out” from certain corners of the online fanbase.”

    So it seems he’s infecting the fans with something at least. Disillusion perhaps?


    “What good is a complete overhaul and rebuild if you abandon it eight months into the project? But it is true that Spurs have been underachieving compared to expectations, especially now that they are (mostly) healthy”

    So perhaps not quite as ‘sublime’ as has been suggested.

    So in conclusion, I find it impossible to see why Spurs are classed as a big Club? Unless of course it’s charging exorbitant prices to watch losers, or renting out your crib to anyone with the odd ‘buck’ to spare, or perhaps it’s just being able to fill your pint from the bottom. Who knows?

    One things for sure, it has absolutely nothing to do with the football team.

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