Date: Wednesday 25th February
Time: 7.45pm (gmt)
Location: Emirates Stadium
Champion’s League football returns for the Gunners this week as they host Monaco in the first tie of the last 16 round. It might seem like an easier draw than we have had in previous years compared to Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Ac Milan but Monaco are not to be underestimated.
That being said with Wenger’s previous history from Monaco it’s very likely he has never taken his eyes off their progress and will be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and we could feel silently confident that we could get through this round.
Arsenal have improved in form dramatically over the past few weeks and it appears everyone has worked hard to improve the weaknesses rife within the team. But whether it is enough to progress through a round in which we have been eliminated in the past remains to be seen.
Our strength in this game will be going forward, we have the superior attacking force and all of our midfield and strikers are on top form and will be looking to score goals. That will be met with Monaco’s strong defensive philosophy, having not conceded a goal in the group stages they have proved their they are efficient in that aspect of their play.
Wenger sees it as a 50:50 game, speaking to Arsenal.com he told them:
“The last 16 in recent years has been super tough. This is a 50:50 game. We know that Monaco are very tight defensively – they didn’t concede in the group stage against good teams.
Of course it will be tricky but a possible tie. It’s really a 50:50 because Monaco are in a similar position to us. They came back into a good position in the league and their confidence level will be high”
Arsenal- Ramsey is doubtful with a hamstring injury and Oxlade-Chamberlain with groin.
Monaco- Toulalan is suspended for the first leg and there are injury doubts with injury doubts over Tiemoue Bakayoko (thigh), Joao Moutinho (ankle), Ricardo Carvalho (calf) and Andrea Raggi (knee).
Predicted line up
Arsenal- Ospina, Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Cazorla, Coquelin, Rosicky, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud.
Monaco- Stekelenberg, Abdennour, Fabinho, Kurzawa, Wallace, Silva, Ferreira-Carrasco, Kondogbia, Moutinho, Berbatov, Carvalho.