Wow, five years. When it comes to this particular ‘trip down memory lane’ it certainly feels like the game in question happened only yesterday, when in reality, it happened five whole years ago. We can’t quite get out head around that, and it’s interesting to look at the ways in which football has changed since then – and in many ways, how it’s kind of stayed exactly the same.
Up then down
The game took place in Italy between Napoli and Arsenal, with the Italian side knowing that they needed an emphatic result in order to qualify for the Round of 16. While they may have put in a solid performance, winning 2-0, they didn’t quite get that third goal they desperately needed in order to make it through to the next round. The Gunners, on the other hand, continued to plod along in the final few years of Arsene Wenger’s reign.
With Borussia Dortmund and Marseille also in the group, you could certainly argue that this was the Group of Death and any pairing of the two teams would be disappointed to miss out. Napoli weren’t ready to roll over and take a spot in the Europa League, though, although it did take until the final 17 minutes for them to finally find the breakthrough.
Higuain gave them the lead in the 73rd minute with Mikel Arteta getting sent off just a few minutes later, opening the door for a series of goals for the home side. Callejon added a second in injury time but there just wasn’t enough time left for them to get another, meaning Arsenal were able to cling onto their spot in the next round.
They wound up getting eliminated by Bayern Munich in the Round of 16, which wound up being quite a familiar theme for the club over the subsequent few years. While they may be in the Europa League this time around it definitely feels like, if they did get back into the Champions League, they’d have a better chance of giving a good account of themselves. We know there’s no way of possibly knowing that, but at the end of the day, time will tell – and we can look back on games like this and realise that things can only continue to get better.
What are your favourite memories from the 2013/14 season?