Arsenal need a scoreline like they produced on Saturday in beating West Ham 3-0 if they’re to reach the quarter-finals of this season’s UEFA Champions League.
Stranger things have happened but Arsenal have a mammoth task on their hands needing to score at least three goals against a side who have only conceded two in seven games in this season’s competition.
Monaco will have had a much better rest heading into this game having played on Friday, a 3-0 home win over nine-man Bastia. Mind you, additional rest didn’t exactly help Chelsea over Paris Saint-Germain in either leg…
midfielder, Tiemoué Bakayoko, is out injured as he has been for two months. Centre-back Andrea Raggi is also missing. Ricardo Carvalho is back.
Striker Lacina Traoré has not been available all year, whilst Valère Germain is also out.
Jérémy Toulalan, who missed the first leg, is back. This allows Fabinho to move back from the holding midfield role to his natural right-back position.
Defenders Mathieu Debuchy and Gabriel Paulista are both absent. Neither played in the first leg.
Arsène Wenger has a number of midfielders missing – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby, whilst Tomáš Rosický is a doubt.
Fabinho in for young Almamy Touré at right-back to deal with Alexis Sánchez. Jérémy Toulalan returns as part of a three-man central midfield. The experienced French midfielder and João Moutinho like to see a lot of the ball and will look after it whilst trying to create chance and breakaways for their side. Alongside them Geoffrey Kondogbia breaks up possession of the opposition. The pace of Yannick Ferreira Carrasco on the left should be a real threat on the counter. The Belgian was a substitute in the first leg when he came on to score.
A change at right-back from the weekend. Aaron Ramsey returned to the starting lineup to score – Wenger would like the Welshman to play two games in a week to add additional threat going forward. Santi Cazorla can dictate the game in the number 10 role, while Mesut Özil could be pushed out wide right to create chances. Save Danny Welbeck for the second half if still seeking goals with his fresh legs and pace.
Olivier Giroud vs Aymen Abdennour
Arsenal’s striker had two golden chances in the first leg. Failing to score either has put them on the verge of an early exit from the Champions League. With the quality of players around him we’re confident he’ll get the supply at Stade Louis II and having scored in each of his last four Premier League games we’re confident he can reduce the comeback.
Alexis Sánchez vs Fabinho
Arsenal’s Chilean star was kept quiet in the first leg but has a chance to impress against a different right-back this time. Fabinho is certainly a talented full-back but Sánchez needs to create chances from out wide. He’s certainly capable of that.
Yannick Ferreira Carrasco vs Héctor Bellerín
Arsenal will be attacking from very early in this game, needing at least three goals to have a chance of progressing. Right-back Héctor Bellerín likes to bomb forward to support the attack which should leave Arsenal vulnerable to the counter. They are at the best of times. Yannick Ferreira Carrasco punished them with the third goal on the break in the first leg and should be a threat in this one too.
2 – Monaco have conceded only two goals in their seven Champions League games so far this season.
4 – Arsenal have been eliminated at this stage in each of the previous four seasons.
16 – Monaco are undefeated in their last 16 matches at the Stade Louis II stadium in all competitions, conceding only four goals during this run.
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