In the 22 years, Arsene Wenger bossed Arsenal; the Gunners played over 200 European Cup matches but have never won a European title under their beloved French manager.
Over the 22 seasons, Arsenal managed two European finals – the 2000 European Cup, which was lost to Galatasaray on penalties and the 2006 Champions League final, which was lost 2-1 to Barcelona.
When the players jog on to the Wanda Metropolitano pitch on Thursday for the second leg knowing even a 0-0 result knocks them out, the 11 chosen should be imbued with the necessary will to fight to see off their gaffer on a high.
Whether they can manage that against a very stingy Atletico Madrid side though remains to be seen.
Arsenal must score to stand any chance of going through and any score draw but the 1-1 would see them qualify ahead of Diego Simeone’s side, who have conceded just four goals at home in La Liga and three in seven matches in their UEFA Europa Cup adventure. Though this is a fact Wenger sees as an advantage.
“The advantage we have is the way to behave is clear: we know we need to score. We have a clear demand in our heads; we need to have a positive way.
“Will Atletico do the same?
“Will they have a more cautious approach and try to get us on the break? We have to be prepared for that as well.”
The love affair between Arsenal and Arsene was one would end in death but Wenger has been gently nudged on his way but he wants it to end in happiness.
“At the moment, I would like to finish my job well. I believe a man has to give his best as long as he is somewhere, with all his commitment and energy. I would like one day to know I worked with all my energy until the last day. I would like to look back and think I finished this love affair well.”
Wenger is praying to exit Arsenal on a high but will his players oblige him? Kickoff is 8:05pm.