Fend them off they did though - despite significant pressure - and Gerrard's side now find themselves in the draw for the group stage.
They'll be keen to make up for that disappointment this time around and they have serial Europa League victor Unai Emery at the helm so they should be confident of putting a good run together in the competition.
Now, the draw has been made with the Gunners set to come up against Sporting Clube de Portugal, Qarabag FK and FC Vorskla Poltava. "After this, we want to go far in this competition", Emery said in his pre-match press conference.
"It is a standard procedure for UEFA to send letters of support to associations, clubs or embassies in order to obtain visa for players in order to be able to travel to another country and play in UEFA competition matches", read part of a statement from UEFA.
Brendan Rodgers has admitted that the Europa League may not be a "glamour competition" compared to the Champions League but is still eager for Celtic fans to get behind the team in the tournament. They were two games away from doing it last season but now have a manager which has done it on three occasions.
The draw for the group stage, taking place at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, starts at midday United Kingdom time.