Arsenal will be relishing a great opportunity to reach the last eight of the UEFA Champions League when they host Monaco in the first leg of last-16 clash at the Emirates on Wednesday night.
In years gone by the last 16 draw has been very cruel to the London side being put up against sides such as Barcelona and Bayern Munich to name a few. This is somewhat of a romantic fixture for manager Arsene Wenger who actually managed Monaco between 1987 and 1994 winning both the Ligue 1 and Coupe De France titles and this will be the first time the manager has faced his former employers since he departed for Japan.
Monaco are the shadow of the side of they use to be as their momentous cash flow has seems to have run out, this has been coupled with the departure of big players with James Rodriguez leaving for Real Madrid and Radamel Falcao leaving for Manchester United on loan. Despite these problems Leonardo Jardim’s have shown some excellent form in this competition and domestically conceding just one goal in the group stages and lost just the one game in the last 10 Ligue 1 matches.
Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny may get an opportunity to re-stake his claim between the sticks with David Ospina suffering from a minor back problem. Danny Welbeck and Hector Bellerin could get the nod ahead of Theo Walcott and Calum Chambers respectively with; Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all likely to remain on the side-line.
Monaco too have a significant list of absentees with Layvin Kurzawa the latest to join; Andrea Raggi, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Ricardo Carvalho and Yannick Ferreria-Carrasco on the injury table. Jeremy Toulalan is also missing through suspension, one face that will be all too familiar to this Arsenal side is former Tottenham, Manchester United and Fulham striker Dimitar Berbatov who found the net on three occasions against the North London side.
Written by Danial Kennedy [@Danialkennedy]