Arsenal’s amazing change in form has given us Gooners renewed hope for this season, and we can have high hopes of retaining our FA Cup crown and hopefully going a long way in the Champions League this time around.
But our first obstacle is to get past Monaco, who were considered one of the easiest draws in the competition at the time, but, like Arsenal, they have improved rapidly recently, and are currently on an unbeaten run of 14 games in row in which they have only conceded ONE goal in regulation time (in a 1-1 draw away at Ligue 1 leaders Lyon in the middle of December). The Ligue 1 side has four more games to play before coming to the Emirates on the 25th Feb so we can only hope their consistency takes a knock before then.
But Arsenal will definitely be stronger than they were in the Group matches, with our recoveries from injury and the addition of three players to our squad for the knockout rounds. First of all we have Olivier Giroud, who was injured for most of the Group games, then Francis Coquelin who has been a godsend since coming back from Charlton, and of course our new centre-back Gabriel Paulista.
So, barring any new injuries, Arsenal are looking strong enough to compete with Monaco, but don’t expect it to be a pushover….
Full Champions League Squad
1. Wojciech Szczesny, 2. Mathieu Debuchy, 3. Kieran Gibbs, 4. Per Mertesacker, 5. Gabriel, 6. Laurent Koscielny, 7. Tomas Rosicky, 8. Mikel Arteta, 10. Jack Wilshere, 11. Mesut Ozil, 12. Olivier Giroud, 13. David Ospina, 14. Theo Walcott, 16. Aaron Ramsey, 17. Alexis Sanchez, 18. Nacho Monreal, 19. Santi Cazorla, 20. Mathieu Flamini, 21. Calum Chambers, 23. Danny Welbeck, 24. Abou Diaby, 26. Emiliano Martinez, 34. Francis Coquelin, 35. Gedion Zelalem.
15. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 27. Serge Gnabry, 38. Chuba Akpom, 39. Hector Bellerin, 42. Isaac Hayden, 43. Ryan Huddart, 44. Deyan Iliev, 45. Alex Iwobi, 47. Glen Kamara, 52. Tafari Moore, 54. Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill, 64. George Dobson, 70. Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 73. Stefan O’Connor.