Theo Walcott scored, Shkodran Mustafi started and Laurent Koscielny was sent off in Arsenal’s last Champions League line-up. Can the Gunners return with Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka as inspiration?


Arsenal’s chances of playing Champions League football next season are on the rise, giving them hope of playing in the prestigious competition for the first time since 2017.

The Gunners have closed the gap on fourth-place Manchester United and are now just two points behind the Red Devils with three games less.

Arsenal won their last game against Wolves to bolster their hopes of a top four finish
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The north London club have not played in the competition since March 2017 when they were knocked out of the Round of 16 by Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.

The Gunners were crushed 5-1 in every game meaning they were knocked out of the tournament with an embarrassing 10-2 aggregate loss, with a red card for Laurent Koscielny adding insult to injury.

Off the pitch before the match, longtime manager Arsene Wenger was under fire as a ‘Wenger Out’ protest unfolded outside the pitch, and unfortunately for the Frenchman, the outcome of that match did not did not help his cause.

In fact, it was Arsenal’s biggest home defeat since November 1998, when they lost 5-0 to Chelsea in the League Cup.

At the Emirates, Bayern Munich went wild with Robert Lewandowski, Arjen Robben, Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal with a brace, getting the goals.

Since then, Arsenal have made three Europa League appearances and twice failed to qualify for Europe, finishing outside the top six in the past two seasons.


Theo Walcott scored, Shkodran Mustafi started and Laurent Koscielny was sent off in Arsenal's last Champions League line-up. Can the Gunners return with Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka as inspiration?
Arsenal stars didn’t have a great night
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Theo Walcott scored, Shkodran Mustafi started and Laurent Koscielny was sent off in Arsenal's last Champions League line-up. Can the Gunners return with Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka as inspiration?
Arturo Vidal, however, enjoyed the game
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Now, however, the Gunners may be on the verge of a comeback – and it will be with a new team.

There are only two players left on Arsenal’s books from the side that capitulated to Bayern, with only one of them still playing for Arsenal.

Granit Xhaka, who was in his first season at the club at the time, and on-loan right-back Hector Bellerin, who was only 21 at the time, started.

Also at the back were Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, with David Ospina between the sticks.

Olivier Giroud led Arsenal’s attack, with Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott serving on either side.

Theo Walcott scored, Shkodran Mustafi started and Laurent Koscielny was sent off in Arsenal's last Champions League line-up. Can the Gunners return with Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka as inspiration?
The final whistle couldn’t have come sooner for Ospina
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Theo Walcott scored, Shkodran Mustafi started and Laurent Koscielny was sent off in Arsenal's last Champions League line-up. Can the Gunners return with Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka as inspiration?
Arsenal fans weren’t happy with Wenger back then
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Walcott was the Gunners’ only goalscorer that day, his strike – a first game on the night – ultimately serving only as consolation.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was in the middle of the park alongside Xhaka but then signed for Liverpool at the end of the campaign.

Aaron Ramsey, now at Rangers but on loan from Juventus, was also in that midfield.

Theo Walcott scored, Shkodran Mustafi started and Laurent Koscielny was sent off in Arsenal's last Champions League line-up. Can the Gunners return with Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka as inspiration?
The Gunners opted for a 4-3-3 in their draw against Bayern
Theo Walcott scored, Shkodran Mustafi started and Laurent Koscielny was sent off in Arsenal's last Champions League line-up. Can the Gunners return with Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka as inspiration?
Current Arsenal manager Arteta had retired from football and left Wenger’s side the season before Arsenal’s final Champions League game.
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Now, however, Arteta’s squad look youthful as Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and others shine.

Martin Odegaard and Alexandre Lacazette are showing their worth, while Takehiro Tomiyasu and Aaron Ramsdale have been inspired signings to slip into defense along with Ben White, Gabriel and Kieran Tierney.

Thomas Partey’s wealth of Champions League experience will help them if they qualify for the tournament as well.

But the Chickens are to be counted for now – there’s still a long way to go this season and we have no doubt there will be some twists and turns.

Theo Walcott scored, Shkodran Mustafi started and Laurent Koscielny was sent off in Arsenal's last Champions League line-up. Can the Gunners return with Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka as inspiration?
Will Arsenal bring Champions League football back to the Emirates?

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