If Arsene Wenger has a belief in a deity or astrology, he needs to start counting his blessings Liverpool and in particular, Mario Balotelli, were around to deflect attention from another poor showing in Europe. In fact, in both the domestic league and in Europe, Liverpool and Balotelli have been doing that throughout the season.
Yet despite that fact, Liverpool sit above Arsenal in the league, have won twice as many games, have both only kept one clean sheet and have scored the same amount of goals - even with Balotelli's shortcomings. Europe, however, is the reason Liverpool have been ridiculed and Arsenal have snuck under the radar.
In the first game of the Champions League Group Stages, Liverpool struggled to overcome Champions League newcomers and minnows, Ludogorets. Arsenal on the other hand were comprehensively beaten by Borussia Dortmund who were finalists in 2013, narrowly lost to 2014 winners Real Madrid in the quarter finals, and are generally accepted as a club just outside Europe's elite. The media dictated that Arsenal losing to Dortmund, no matter how badly, was less of a crime than Liverpool failing to thrash Ludogorets.
Matchday two in the Champions League saw a contrast between two £16 million strikers. Liverpool's Mario Balotelli was arguably the worst player on show against Basel as he failed to step one foot into the Basel penalty area in 90 minutes and was routinely taking shots that could only be described as: "high, wide and not so handsome", when a better placed teammate was available for a pass. Liverpool lost that game 1-0. Meanwhile, Arsenal's Danny Welbeck got his first senior hat-trick in football against Galatasaray and helped the Gunners to a 4-0 victory.
That takes us onto matchday three on Wednesday where the world was focused on Real Madrid battering Liverpool, whilst Arsenal struggled to overcome annual Champions League whipping boys, Anderlecht. On paper this has the same hallmarks of matchday one, however, the propaganda machine favoured Arsene and his Arsenal boys.
As a consequence, Arsenal have more or less booked their passage into the knockout stages of the Champions League and as long as their league form continues to mirror Liverpool's (and Manchester United's), they should escape any real or detailed criticism. Well, that is until February rolls around, Arsenal get their annual licking against one of the big boys and the #ArseneWengerOut brigade comes out of their annual hibernation - only to go back into hiding when the #ArseneWengerIn brigade comes out of their hibernation in May - once Arsenal have finished fourth on the last day and have qualified for the Champions League, sorry, Champions League Play-Offs.
All jokes aside, in the aftermath of the 2-0 loss to Chelsea, I wrote Arsene Wenger had ran out of ideas and needed to be sacked in order for Arsenal to progress, poor form in Europe is another reason that justifies that comment.
In all of Wenger's 18 years at Arsenal, they have never won a European trophy. In fact, in only five seasons have they ever looked like winning a European trophy: 99/00, 00/01, 03/04, 05/06 and 08/09. 99/00 was the closest as Arsenal were beaten by Galatasaray on penalties in the UEFA Cup final.
00/01 was an away goals defeat to Valencia in the quarter finals - Valencia went on to beat Leeds United in the semi-finals - a team Arsenal had a balanced Premier League record against. Valencia then lost to Bayern Munich on penalties in the final.
03/04 was a quarter final defeat to Chelsea - on paper Arsenal were the best team in Europe that year (or second, depending on how you rate 03/04 AC Milan).
05/06 was the Champions League final when Barcelona came back from a goal down to win against a 10 man Arsenal.
I am hesitant to include 08/09 as Arsenal were battered by Man Utd who in turn were battered by Barcelona. Nonetheless, a semi final, no matter how fleeting, is worth a mention.
In Europe, a team's quality is primarily judged upon how often in recent years they make it to the latter rounds of the two European competitions. For example: Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Barcelona are all widely accepted as the elite in European football - lo and behold, they are in that order, the last winners of the Champions League.
Behind them are the likes of Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, PSG, Man City and Juventus - teams who on occasion have threatened the status quo in their own leagues; the first three have even done it in Europe.
Arsenal fit into neither slot so they must belong in the third tier of European powers - an also ran with far too many deficiencies to ever seriously threaten the status quo. This simply isn't good enough considering Arsenal's finances are among the best in Europe outside Man United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. After 18 years to correct this, Wenger might find this season one year too many, even if he does finish fourth in the Premier League.