Arsenal will take on Monaco in the Champions League Round of 16 tie, with the first fixture being played at the Emirates Stadium. Most Gunners would be relieved to be facing the French team, who are currently in 6th position in their domestic league.
Monaco enter this match up as Group winners while Arsenal came second in their group. The French side have had an illustrious past in Ligue 1 and a fair record in the Champions league, but most had discarded AS Monaco, who just recently got promoted to Ligue 1 and found rich-backing from familiar shores, or deserts. Arsenal on the other hand have been regular Champions League participants for the last 15 years now, and have proved themselves to be a tough opposition.
Just to put things into perspective, here is Arsenal’s and Monaco’s record in UCL and their respective leagues for this season till now,
League Form :
Arsenal : P 16 W 7 D 5 L 4 Position: 6th
Monaco : P 18 W 8 D 5 L 5 Position: 6th
UCL Form :
Arsenal : W 4 D 1 L 1 Points: 13
Monaco : W 3 D 2 L 1 Points: 11
Though their Champions League form looks very similar, Arsenal won their matches far more convincingly than Monaco. Having said that, Monaco topped their group midst teams like Leverkusen, Benfica and Zenit, all of whom are of similar calibre.
Arsenal, on the other hand, only had Dortmund in their group who were a difficult team to beat. Galatasaray and Anderlecht rarely pose a serious threat to big teams in Europe.
This match is very special for Arsene Wenger as Monaco happens to be the team he once managed and won a League title with. The fans at Monaco still treat him with utmost respect, though he would hope that his current team come out on top.
Arsenal’s injury worries never seem to end, with regular reshuffling of the back four hurting them time and time again. Given the fact that Monaco loaned out Falcao to Manchester United and sold Emmanuel Riviere, they don’t pose much of a threat to even a make-shift defense, and who knows what transpires in the January transfer window.
Arsenal’s biggest strength this season has been their attack, spearheaded by the mercurial Alexis Sanchez.
However, the last time these two met was in the Emirates Cup on 3rd August, the match ended in a 1 – 0 win for Monaco with the solitary goal from Radamel Falcao. This time around, the tables have turned and Arsenal look like a stronger team and will soon be boosted by the return of Theo Walcott and Laurent Koscielny.
Arsenal win both the legs with an aggregate score of 4 – 1.