Arsenal have a tough task as they seek to overcome a two-goal deficit in the second leg of their Champions League, round-of-16 tie away to Monaco on Tuesday (19:45 GMT, live on ITV1).
The Gunners fell to a 3-1 defeat in the first leg at the Emirates, with strikes from Geoffrey Kondogbia, Dimitar Berbatov and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco seeing Monaco depart from London with three away goals.
The French side come into the return on the back of a strong run of league form that has seen them gain significant ground on the top three over the last few months. They are fourth in the Ligue 1 table, with 50 points from 14 wins, eight draws and six defeats.
Leonardo Jardim’s side recorded a comfortable 3-0 win at home to Bastia on Friday. Strikes from Anthony Martial and Matheus Carvalho saw them go in at the break two goals to the good, and Martial then added his second and Monaco’s third early in the second half. Their visitors were limited to just one shot from inside the area and not a single effort on target.
Monaco’s good form has primarily been built upon their excellent defensive record, which has seen them concede just 20 times in 28 league matches, and keep 11 clean sheets in their 13 games since the start of December. In the Champions League, they let in just one goal in six matches in topping Group C ahead of Bayer Leverkusen, Zenit and Benfica.
Jardim did a very good job at Sporting in his native Portugal last season. After an uncertain start, he has now constructed a well-organised and efficient side in the principality. Ex-Spurs striker Berbatov is his side’s primary reference point in attack, with Nabil Dirar and young talents Ferreira Carrasco, Martial and Bernardo Silva vying for the three spots just behind.
Jardim will definitely be without the injured Andrea Raggi (knee), Lacina Traore (stress fracture) and Tiemoue Bakayoko (hamstring), while there are doubts over the participation of Ferreira Carrasco (ankle), Kondogbia (knock) and Jeremy Toulalan (knock).
Arsenal travel to France on the back of four straight victories in all competitions in the wake of their first leg defeat. They are third in the Premier League, just a point behind Manchester City in second, with 57 points from 17 wins, six draws and six defeats.
Arsene Wenger’s side recorded a relatively comfortable 3-0 win at home to West Ham on Saturday. They produced some lovely attacking football in a dominant first-half performance but only had Olivier Giroud’s (pictured) goal to show for it at the interval. Their visitors improved after the break but late goals from Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini sealed the three points.
It was the Gunners fifth consecutive league victory and also came in the wake of their FA Cup quarter-final victory over Manchester United the previous Monday. While they still have some issues – highlighted in the first leg defeat to Monaco and in the league defeats to Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur – 14 wins in 17 matches in 2015 still reads very well.
With Giroud, Ramsey and Mesut Ozil all in good form, the lessened involvement of Alexis Sanchez – who has contributed just one goal and one assist in his last 10 appearances – has not had too much of an impact on the team’s attacking output. Indeed, the Gunners have averaged a season-high 2.38 goals per match over their last eight league fixtures.
Wenger will definitely be without the injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring), Abou Diaby (calf), Gabriel Paulista (hamstring), Jack Wilshere (ankle), Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder) and Mikel Arteta (ankle).
Monaco v Arsenal Betting Tips
The first leg of this tie was the first competitive meeting between these sides. Monaco have a strong overall record against English clubs in European competition and have come out on top against both Chelsea (2004) and Manchester United (1998) in Champions League knockout ties. Arsenal have won 12 of their 21 matches against French opposition.
Monaco are a well-organised side and have a very strong defensive record this season. They have only conceded more than once on five occasions during the campaign, while the only time they conceded more than two goals – Arsenal need at least three to have any chance of going through – was way back in mid-August.
Arsenal are generally in very good form and have played some good football since their first leg defeat in London. They have created plenty of chances in recent matches and will therefore still hope to complete an unlikely turnaround here. However, the truth is that it is likely to be very difficult against a side who pride themselves on their defensive solidity.
Arsenal are the most likely victors on the night, but Monaco will nevertheless be confident of going through to the last eight.
- Back Arsenal to win the match @ best odds of 13/10 with Bet365, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, BetVictor or Betfred.
- Giroud has scored six times in his last seven matches in all competitions and will be determined to make up for his disappointing performance in the first leg at the Emirates. Back Oliver Giroud to score at anytime @ best odds of 19/10 with Unibet.