Arsene Wenger exits Europe one more time forlorn, bereft and powerless as Atletico Madrid knockout Arsenal

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For Arsenal’s fans, a mixture of emotions. A little sadness, a little disappointment, but most of all just that large and familiar numbness: a cold pint of nothing, with a nothing chaser

Life doesn’t deal in happy endings, and most of the time, nor does football. The body gives out; the mind wearies; the game to which you have given so much delights in kicking you in the guts. Perhaps Arsene Wenger should have known all along that this was how it would all turn out, but I doubt it. Right to the very last, even as his side slid to defeat, even as his last shot at glory evaporated into the chilly Madrid night, he will have believed. This was always his gift, and ultimately it was his curse too.

As the metronomic Atletico Madrid ticked down his final minutes of European football, Wenger remained in his dugout, only occasionally venturing out onto the touchline. And for all the ignominies he has suffered in his 22 years at Arsenal, never had he looked quite this forlorn, quite this bereft, quite this powerless. After all, Wenger was always the planner, the dreamer, the architect: the man with one eye on tomorrow. However bad things got, there was always next season.

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