Since being knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona in 2011, Arsenal have committed the same errors in every single European campaign.
The first leg of the last 16 has continuously seen the Gunners crumble or chase the game when it was far from over. It cost us against AC Milan, Bayern Munich (twice) and AS Monaco, against whom we have put in superb second leg displays but to no avail.
There is a lesson to be learnt, and Arsenal have to show now that they have learnt it. Should the Gunners be in a tight game come the 80 minute mark on Tuesday evening, we can’t sacrifice a draw and end up losing. Not again.
“We have a good opportunity to show that we have learnt,” Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger said to the media in his press conference on Monday afternoon. “It’s true that we gave ourselves a difficult task every time after the first home leg and maybe because we’re a bit too keen to make the difference in the first game.
“Therefore we have to find the right balance between being audacious, because that’s what we will need to be against Barcelona, but as well strong defensively as a unit and not put ourselves in front of a very difficult task in the second leg.”
The second leg two weeks from now already seems impossibly daunting, but we have to get through the first half of this tie before looking ahead.
And that’s what Tuesday has to be remembered as: the first half.