Arsene Wenger takes his Arsenal side to the south of France with another miracle task at hand; they must overturn a 3-1 deficit they’ve let Monaco create during the first leg of this 2nd round Champions League tie.
It’s no secret we’ve been in this same predicament before; 3 years ago Arsenal were 4-0 down to AC Milan after coming away from Italy empty handed, and were so close to equalising on aggregate in the return leg, then a year later Arsenal were in the exact same position as they are now, to Bayern Munich, and again were one goal away from a historic victory in a memorable performance in Munich.
This time our opponents are Monaco, a side which Arsene Wenger has failed to defeat in the seven attempts he’s had as manager of Arsenal. So let’s go through 3 things Le Professeur and his army have to do to make a miracle happen this time.
Pressure the Opposition
When Monaco have possession of the ball, it’s Arsenal’s responsibility to be able to win it back as quickly and aggressively as possible, not giving the opposition time and space to pass the ball around the park. We have to defend from the front and pressure their players throughout.
The first half will be as crucial as the second if the score remains 0-0. The second 45 minutes is when energy levels are likely to deplete, so it’s within our best interest to use the first half to come out hunting in packs and apply pressure from the front line. It’s an effective tactic to have and requires lots of commitment and high work rate.
This is what players like Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck do so well. We’ve grown accustomed to the work rate these two put in during every game. Alexis never seems to run out of energy and Welbeck is more or less the same, as their pace and particularly Welbeck’s power when confronting his man, is a quality that will definitely help the cause.
This is a game in which Arsenal simply cannot afford to sit deep and defend from the first minute. The home side are the ones with the upper hand so everyone will be expecting us to do most of the attacking. Monaco’s primary job will be to frustrate us by retaining possession and repelling our attacks with their strict defensive structure.
We have to pressure them from the get go because we’re the ones chasing the game – it’s the only logical tactic.