Monaco v Arsenal: Champions League preview
Last Updated: 17/03/15 7:33pm
Arsenal travel to Monaco knowing it will take a momentous effort for them to stand a chance of making it through to the Champions League quarter-finals.
The Gunners were on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline at the Emirates in the first leg and subsequently need to score at least three at the Stade Louis II Stadium if they are to progress.
Leonardo Jardim’s side came into the tie as underdogs but have been in fine form of late, winning four of their last five games and holding Paris Saint-Germain in the other.
As such, they will be confident of maintaining their advantage and moving into the last eight for the first time since 2004 when they reached the final.
For Arsene Wenger it is a first chance to return to his former club as an opposition manager although he will be well aware that the chances of it being a successful one are slim in the extreme.
Jeremy Toulalan, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco and Geoffrey Kondogbia are in the Monaco squad after recovering from injuries.
The trio have trained as normal after missing the 3-0 win over Bastia on Friday evening.
Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista has recovered from a hamstring problem to travel to Monaco while club captain Mikel Arteta has also returned to training after his ankle injury.
Midfielder Tomas Rosicky is not part of the squad after illness and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring) remains out, along with Jack Wilshere (ankle).
Monaco have won 75% of their Champions League games at their Stade Louis-II (18 out of 24). Only Real Madrid have a better ratio on home soil in the history of the competition (76%, 77 out of 101) among teams with more than two appearances in the UCL.
Arsenal have always eliminated French clubs in knockout encounters in European competition – it’s happened five times in the past.
Monaco have conceded two goals in seven games in the Champions League this season, the best defensive record in this season's competition.
Arsenal are the only team, alongside Real Madrid, to have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League in every season since the new format in 2003/04. They have however been knocked out in the last 16 in each of the last four seasons.
Monaco haven’t conceded a single goal in their three Champions League home games this season.
Arsene Wenger has won none of his seven games against Monaco as manager (D4 L3).
Arsenal are 5/1 with Sky Bet to overturn their first-leg deficit and qualify, as they head to the Stade Louis II as 13/10 favourites for the victory. Monaco are rated 2/1 for another win over Arsene Wenger’s men and 25/1 to do so by the same scoreline as the first leg, while the Gunners are 18/1 to take the tie to extra-time by winning 3-1 themselves.
Olivier Giroud is rated 5/1 favourite to open the scoring after doing so at the weekend, while Dimitar Berbatov is considered the hosts’ biggest threat at 13/2 to net first. The tie brings together the two biggest-priced sides remaining in the Champions League outright, with Monaco 50/1 and Arsenal even longer odds at 80/1. Meanwhile, Sky Sports pundit and Sky Bet tipster Phil Thompson is backing the Gunners to win 3-0 at 20/1.
You can follow Arsenal's Champions League last 16 second leg tie against Monaco on Soccer Special from 7.30pm on Sky Sports News HQ.