Mikel Arteta: Arsenal Boss Names Messi and Bayern As Club’s UCL Obstacle in Recent Years

Mikel Arteta: Arsenal Boss Names Messi and Bayern As Club’s UCL Obstacle in Recent Years

Elijah Odetokun
February 21, 2024 at 8:48 AM
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  • Arsenal returned to the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2017
  • The Gunners are in their first Round of 16 since coach Mikel Arteta was a player
  • He has opened up on the two obstacles for the club during his playing days

Mikel Arteta is in his fifth year as Arsenal manager, the same number of years he played for the club and has reflected on their challenges in the UEFA Champions League in the past.

Arsenal qualified for the Champions League this season for the first time since 2017 when Arteta hung his boots under former boss Arsene Wenger.

Lionel Messi, Manuel Almunia, Barcelona, Arsenal, UEFA Champions League.
Lionel Messi scored four goals against Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League in 2010. Photo by Adam Wavy.
Source: Getty Images

The UCL qualification was hard work but appeared as a mere consolation after the team capitulated and surrendered the Premier League title to Manchester City with three games to spare.

They are in the title race yet again, and unless they win the domestic or European title, they will go trophyless for the fourth straight season since winning the FA Cup in 2020. Well, unless the Community Shield counts.

Arteta discloses Arsenal's UCL obstacles

Speaking ahead of the Round of 16 first-leg tie against FC Porto, Arteta was quizzed on the mental effect of the club’s constant failure in the competition during his time as a player on the current group.

"Someone called Messi was another obstacle as well as Bayern Munich. This competition is what it is. It comes down to details, and you need your players at their best,” he said via Goal.

Messi scored nine goals against Arsenal in the UCL, including four goals in the 2009/10 quarter-final second leg, the last time the North London club was in that round.

Per Transfermarkt, Bayern Munich and Barcelona have eliminated the Gunners four times each in the knockout stage, with the Blaugrana also beating them in their only final in 2006.

Arsenal's chances of winning UCL

Sports Brief analysed Arsenal’s chances of winning the UEFA Champions League in their first season back to the competition in seven years with 16 teams left.

The Gunners topped a group including Sevilla, RC Lens and PSV. They are the fifth favourite to win it, backed by a supercomputer with an 8.4% chance if they reach the final.

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Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.