While the Arsenal fans are all very happy about today’s Champions League draw which saw the Gunners drawn against the French club Monaco, we must still remember that they did qualify at the top of their Champions League group and that is something that Arsenal have found very difficult in recent years.
So although Monaco are the least favourite of the group winners with the bookies to win the whole competition and are also favourites to go out against us, Arsenal fans should be wary of counting our chickens. And that same message has been handed to Arsene Wenger and his players by one of the Monaco stars, Jeremy Toulalan, according to an ESPN report.
The France international midfielder and friend of our own Olivier Giroud reckons that the Gunners might find it a lot tougher than they expect to break down the defence that he provides protection for in central midfield. Having conceded just once in their six group games, perhaps he has good reason to think so. And he is not using their pre-season victory over us in the Emirates cup as an example either.
Toulalan said, “We did well against them in pre-season, though this will be a completely different challenge. For me, we have a 50/50 chance. It’ll make Arsene Wenger happy, I think, to come back here, as well as the French players in the squad.
“The Arsenal players are technically gifted and fleet of mind and foot. Of course it’ll be difficult. I know Olivier Giroud well, it’ll be nice to come up against him on the pitch. We’ll go to the Emirates with our strengths. We’re not an easy team to play against. We’ll have freshness and insouciance on our side.”
However, in the knockout phase of the UCL, with the extra importance added to away goals, the ability to break down defences is crucial and the French club only scored four goals in the group stage. Considering that they were in with Bayer Leverkusen, Zenit and Benfica, that side of their game should not concern us too much, especially if our injury list gets better.
So as long as we avoid disaster in the first leg at home and Monaco need to score in France, it should be the quarter-finals here we come. Do Arsenal have much to worry about?