Arsene Wenger has been the manager of Arsenal since 1996. He’s led the club to great success, especially in the early 2000s when he guided his team through a whole season without a league defeat. But the team that Wenger got his big break with AS Monaco in the late 80s where he lead the team to a Ligue 1 title and a French Cup title, and he’s now looking to beat his former employee as his Arsenal goes up against Monaco in the Champions League Round of 16. The first meeting is in London on Wednesday.
Wenger is one of the most decorated managers in the history of the Premier League with three Premier League titles and five FA Cup titles, and he’s now looking for the Gunners to make a splash in Europe and go after the one title he hasn’t won with Arsenal, the coveted Champions League trophy.
Arsenal’s way to the Round of 16 was a rather easy one as they ended up in second place in Group D on the same amount of points (13) as the winner Borussia Dortmund. They lost 2-0 away at Dortmund in the first group game, before spanking Turkish side Galatasaray 4-1 at home at Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal then went on to beat Belgian champs Anderlecht 2-1 in Belgium and then added a 3-3 draw at home in the return meeting. The Gunners got revenge on Dortmund by beating them 2-0 in the return fixture, and went on to beat Galatasaray once more and again the score line was 4-1.
Monaco won Group C on 11 points, one point ahead of Bayer Leverkusen. The group also included FC Zenit form Russia and SL Benfica from Portugal. They were undefeated at home (wins over Bayer Leverkusen and Zenit, draw against Benfica). On the road they won over Leverkusen, lost against Benfica and drew against Zenit.
Monaco only scored four goals in six games, but only allowed a single goal, so Arsenal will have to find a way to penetrate the Monaco defense and put the ball behind Danijel Subasic in the Monaco net. Arsenal scored 15 goals, but allowed eight.
It will be a tough matchup between these two sides, but I will have to give the edge to Wenger’s side as they have way more offensive fire power than Monaco with players like Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez. If Monaco goes through it will be because of a great defensive display and keeping the two games low scoring.
Up from for Monaco they will have to rely on the experience of Dimitar Berbatov to find a way past the Gunners. Monaco will be without Jeremy Toulalan in the first game as he’s suspended. They might also be without dynamic midfielder Joao Moutinho as he is struggling with an ankle injury.
Arsenal have three players out with injuries (Arteta, Debuchy and Diaby) along with a couple of players that are doubtful (Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ramsey). The first of two meetings is at Emirates Stadium in London on Wednesday and the return leg in Monaco at Stade Louis II is on March 17.