Bayern Munich crushed Arsenal 5-1 in the Champions League yesterday, all but sealing another Round of 16 elimination. It was a characteristic and epic Arsenal collapse. It may seal Arsene Wenger’s departure.
While Arsenal has earned a reputation for such beatdowns, it’s worth noting it does not happen to the Gunners that much more often than other clubs. We looked at all competitive results for “the big six” since the start of the 2009-10 seasons. We counted the number of “beatdowns,” defined as losses by 3 goals or more.
Man City (9)
Man United (11)
Arsenal is in the same rough range as its contemporaries for total number of beatdowns. On Tuesday, the Gunners were tied with Liverpool and Manchester United. You might credit Arsenal since they were the only one of those clubs in the Champions League every season, and had particularly tough draws, giving more opportunities to get throttled.
Why does Arsenal get the reputation? Well, when the beatdowns are happening matters. Arsenal getting thrashed by Bayern Munich or Barcelona in a big spot lingers in the memory. The next match weekend washed away Chelsea and Manchester City’s league drubbings.
There’s also the small matter that Arsenal has not won anything beyond the FA Cup over that period. Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United each won two league titles over that span. Chelsea may get a third this year and also won the Champions League in 2012. The high-profile defeats are the most significant things that have happened to Arsenal.
So, Arsenal has not gotten crushed more than other clubs. That does not mean it does not feel like they have.