How Arsenal could fail to reach Champions League knock-out phase for first time since 1999

The Gunners were just minutes away from guaranteeing a place in the next phase

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The Independent Football

Arsenal could fail to qualify for the knock-out stage of the Champions League for the first time since the 1999/2000 season.

Should they fail to do so, it will be impossible to look beyond their capitulation to Anderlecht as for the reason.

The Gunners were three up against their Belgian opponents after goals from Mikel Arteta, Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Victory would have put the Gunners through to the knock-out phase with two games to spare and kept alive their chances of topping Group D.

However, three in the final 30 minutes from the visitors to the Emirates, completed with Aleksandar Mitrović's 90th minute goal, mean the Gunners are assured of nothing.

In order to be certain of qualifying for the next phase of the competition, the Gunners must draw one of their remaining two fixtures, although that won't be simple.

Next up is Borussia Dortmund who completely outclassed the Gunners when they met in Germany. Jurgen Klopp's side might have already qualified, but a draw at the Emirates would ensure they top Group D.


Should Arsenal lose to Dortmund, and presuming Anderlecht who are currently on two points to Arsenal's seven win both their remaining games, Arsene Wenger would have to take his team to the cauldron that is Galatasaray's Turk Telekom Arena needing a result.

Arsenal will remain confident of reaching the knock-out phase, but due to last night's embarrassing collapse they still need a result, meaning they can't afford to relax. Should it go wrong, it'd be the first time that they failed to reach the knock-out phase since the 1999/2000 season in which they were out of the Champions League before the turn of the year and dropped into the Uefa Cup. The Gunners would go on to reach final in Europe's second-tier tournament that year before being beaten on penalties, ironically, by their final opponents this season - Galatasaray.