Arsenal face a mountainous trip to Monte Carlo on Tuesday night, as they look to pick up the best souvenir they can, a miracle.
The Gunners fell short of the impressive league form two weeks ago, where their defence was unwrapped on the counter attack which led to a 3-1 defeat.
If they are to stand any chance of getting through to the quarter finals of Europe’s biggest competition, then its three goals that Wenger’s men require.
Arsenal – Santi Cazorla
The little Spaniard will join up with the starting eleven again after his short rest over the weekend. He showed us that he is a vital part of our game, after his presence opened up Saturday’s game to provide the second and third goals and kill off any way back for the Hammers.
Santi will be the man we need to break down a Monaco defence who will inevitably be sitting back throughout the game. I will expect Wenger to tell Santi he can play higher up the pitch and not track back as much since the return of Aaron Ramsey to provide cover.
Monaco – Danijel Subašić
Now here’s a man who is going to experience a busy night, as Arsenal aim to throw everything they have at the 30 year old goalkeeper. Standing at 6ft 3, we saw in the reverse leg that he isn’t exactly a match for Olivier Giroud’s height, but he is capable of frustrating the Frenchman.
Monaco have only conceded 5 goals in the Champions League so far, and Subasic has been the man between the sticks for every game. If Monaco are going to head through to the next round, then this is the man they need to thank.
Arsenal will be fully aware now of the damage Monaco can do, and for that reason their heads will be switched on like we haven’t seen before this season. Every pre-match interview we’ve seen so far has been based on how the Gunners need to attack from the first minute and grab an early goal. If they can do that then possession will be controlled throughout the game, but having the likes of Coquelin and Bellerin in the side, we have players who can track back if Monaco do break.
Monaco have nothing to lose in this one but they know the threat that Arsenal pose, they’ll have a fantastic home reception behind them, but Arsenal have proved in Dortmund that won’t faze them. Arsenal will be more balanced this time round, and for that reason Monaco will be forced up the pitch and left vulnerable in behind with the pace of Alexis.
It needs to be a performance from Arsenal that doesn’t just try to cram as many bodies forward as possible. They must be patient, controlled and alert for when possession does change hands.
Prediction: Monaco 0 – 2 Arsenal
Monaco will line up defensively from the start, but with Kondogbia and Carassco missing out on this one through injury, their attacking presence will come from Berbatov, who will be as much use as Diafri Sakho on Saturday afternoon.
I see Arsenal scoring in this one but I just don’t see them finishing the job. It will be yet another case of coming so close but inevitably crashing out of the Champions League will turn into ‘momentum’ as Wenger likes to reiterate year on year.
The win at United last week and impressive form in the league is something to take with us, but I think in front of this crowd it’s just too much to ask of these players.