Have Arsenal Won the Champions League?

The short answer here is no, Arsenal have never won the Champions League, or indeed its predecessor, the European Cup. The gunners have a long history of participating in the competition, especially throughout the reign of Arsène Wenger, yet an opportunity to lift the trophy has never materialised. Though they weren’t too far off once upon a time.

What’s the Closest Arsenal Have Come to Winning the Champions League?

Champions League trophy
Champions League trophy (David Flores | Wikipedia.org – CC BY 2.0)

Arsenal’s most successful UCL campaign came in the 2005/06 season, in which they won their group, before progressing to the final without conceding a single goal in the knockouts, breezing past Real Madrid, Juventus and Villareal. However, they were only able to finish runners-up to a very strong Barcelona side, who reigned supreme in the Stade de France, as some 79,500 fans watched on.

Disaster struck quickly for Arsenal, as goalkeeper, Jens Lehmann, was sent off early in the game for a challenge on Samuel Eto’o, becoming the first player to be sent off in a European Cup final. Despite this setback, Sol Campbell, against the run of play, headed the north London club into the lead in the 37th minute, giving Arsenal fans hope, yet this proved short-lived.

Eto’o equalised in the 76th minute, and only four minutes later, Juliano Belletti provided a second, crushing Arsenal’s hopes of European silverware. This remains the only time that the Gunners have reached the Champions League final, roughly coinciding with a decline in the club’s domestic success, as they have also failed to lift the Premier League trophy since the 2003/04 season.

How Often Have Arsenal Qualified for the Champions League?

Despite never winning it, the gunners have shown remarkable consistency in qualifying for the Champions League, participating in 19 consecutive UCL campaigns under Arsene Wenger, stretching from 1998/99 to 2016/17. This is an English football record, and Real Madrid remain the only European team to surpass it. The north London club therefore clearly demonstrated that they belonged in the competition yet seemed to consistently underperform in comparison to other English teams.

Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea all lifted the trophy during those 19 seasons, and none of them was able to consistently qualify for the competition to the same extent as Wenger’s side. Arsenal’s second-best UCL campaign came in the 2008/09 season, in which they reached the semi-final, before being convincingly beaten by Man United, losing 4-1 on aggregate.

However, the Gunners now face a different issue when it comes to the Champions League, that being that they have been unable to qualify since the 2016/17 season. Fans have therefore had to be content with Europa League football, which Arsenal even failed to qualify for in the 2020/21 season, meaning that they completely missed out on European football in the 2021/22 campaign.

Who Has Scored the Most Champions League Goals for Arsenal?

Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry (Christophe95 | Wikipedia.org – CC BY-SA 3.0)

Thierry Henry, seen by many as the north London club’s greatest player of all time, is firmly on top of the rankings with 35 goals in 78 CL games, which is also the record for the most Champions League appearances for an Arsenal player. Robin van Persie is in second place with 20 goals, with the Dutchman never truly seeming to enjoy his best form in European competitions, as he never managed more than five goals in a single UCL campaign, despite winning two consecutive Premier League Golden Boots. Theo Walcott is in second for the most appearances, having played 67 times in his 12-year spell at the club.

Have Arsenal Ever Won the European Cup?

Although the modern-day UEFA Champions League has been around since the 1992/93 season, the European Cup, its predecessor, actually originated in 1955. The Gunners were, however, only able to qualify for the competition on two occasions, first entering the competition in the 1971/72 season, where they managed to reach the quarter finals, defeating Norwegian side Stromsgodset and Swiss team Grasshoppers 7-1 and 5-0 on aggregate, respectively.

This initial success was short-lived, as they then came up against Ajax, who, led by the magical Johan Cruyff, defeated the Gunners 3-1 over the two legs, before going on to lift the trophy itself. The north London club’s only other European Cup campaign came in the 1991/92 season, in which they were knocked out in the second round of the competition by Benfica. Five English teams have won the European Cup/Champions League a combined 14 times, and Arsenal have so far failed to join this elite group, and not through lack of trying.

Will Arsenal Win the Champions League soon?

Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta (ArsenalTVHD | Wikipedia.org – CC BY 3.0)

This seems highly unlikely, unfortunately for Arsenal fans. The Gunners finished in fifth place in the 2021/22 Premer League season, meaning that, although they have managed to return to European football, this is only in the Europa League, leaving the north London club without a chance of UCL glory for a sixth consecutive season.

Despite this, the 2021/22 season represented somewhat of a return to form for the Gunners under Mikel Arteta, after back-to-back eighth-place finishes in the two seasons prior. Winning the competition may be off the table for the immediate future, but it is likely that they will be able to qualify for Champions League football for the 2023/24 tournament. At the time of writing, the odds are set at 2/1 for the Gunners to finish in the top four, and it is also possible for them to qualify through the Europa League, if they are to lift the trophy for the first time next year.

However, winning the competition, as Arsenal fans well know, is an entirely different ball game. With the greatest Arsenal teams of all time being unable to lift the trophy, it seems highly unlikely that Arteta’s team will be able to do so any time soon, without a significant transformation in the squad and enormous further investments in players. Despite that, nothing is impossible Gooners, but we probably wouldn’t bet on it just yet!