Tuesday 17 March 2015 09:40, UK
Arsenal must become the first team in Champions League history to overturn a two-goal first-leg deficit away from home on Tuesday night if they are to reach the quarter-finals.
After losing 3-1 to Monaco at the Emirates, Arsenal face a daunting task at Stade Louis-II against a team with an outstanding defensive record in Europe’s elite club competition this season.
However, there are reasons for hope for Gunners fans. Here we pick out five stats which suggest they could pull of an historic result - and five facts which suggest they won’t…
Reasons for optimism
- Olivier Giroud has hit a fine run of form and has six goals and three assists in his last eight Premier League games for Arsenal. The striker played a starring role in the 3-0 win over West Ham on Saturday, scoring the opener before setting up Aaron Ramsey for Arsenal’s second and figuring in the build up to the third, scored by Mathieu Flamini.
- Ramsey’s goal against West Ham was the first time the Welsh midfielder had been involved in an Arsenal goal (either scored or assisted) in 2015 – and there are signs he is returning to form. His last goal for the club was a stunning second against Galatasaray in the Champions League – and Gunners fans will be hoping he can produce something as special on Tuesday night.
- Apart from their defeat to Monaco, Arsenal have won their last seven matches in all competitions, scoring no fewer than two goals on each occasion. “We have won eight of the last nine [in the Premier League] and we are stronger today than we were at the start of the season,” Arsene Wenger said after the West Ham win.
- Arsenal have always eliminated French clubs in knockout encounters in European competition – it’s happened five times in the past.
- Two of Monaco’s first-leg goal-scorers are set to be missing through injury on Tuesday: Geoffrey Kondogbia and Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco.
Reasons for pessimism
- Monaco have won 75 per cent 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 per cent, 77 out of 101) among teams with more than two appearances in the Champions League.
- Monaco haven’t conceded a single goal in three Champions League home games this season. In fact, they’ve only conceded twice in seven games in the competition this season, the joint-best defensive record with Real Madrid.
- Arsenal have only kept three clean sheets in their last 31 away games in the Champions League.
- Wenger has won none of his seven games against Monaco as manager (D4 L3).
- Arsenal are unbeaten in their 11 away games against French clubs in European competition (W7 D4) – but they’ve not won any of those games by more than one goal.
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.