Things are looking ominous for British teams in the Champions League this season. Chelsea were knocked out last week by PSG following a tetchy 2-2 draw after extra-time. The Blues had drawn 1-1 in Paris but were eliminated on the away goals rule. Arsenal and Man City both lost their home legs and need to produce something special to extend their interest in the competition.
Arsenal face Monaco on Tuesday night needing to overturn a 3-1 deficit after a disastrous first leg at the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners were guilty of some woeful defending and were duly punished by a well-organised Monaco side. That leaves Arsenal having to score three times against a team that qualified with the best defensive record in the competition. They only conceded one goal in three home games in winning their group.
Although Arsenal have become a regular fixture at this stage of the tournament, they are facing elimination before the quarter-finals for the fifth consecutive season. Arsene Wenger has been quick to blow his own trumpet about their record in the competition but there is a growing frustration at their inability to go deep into the competition.
The Gunners have faced such adversity in the past and are capable of putting up a brave fight. They won 2-0 in Bayern Munich after losing the home tie 3-1. It was not enough to keep them in the competition and I fear that they will face a similar result on Tuesday. Just one goal from Monaco will effectively kill-off any lingering hopes that Arsenal may have and a 2-1 away win seems a real possibility.
Arsenal have been in fine form in the league and are now just one point behind champions Manchester City in third place. They recently stunned City with a victory and have also beaten Manchester United. Monaco are unbeaten in their last 16 at the Stade Louis II but they face a tricky tactical dilemma. The natural tendency is to try to hold what you have and that could give Arsenal a chance to forge a victory.
Tuesday’s other tie sees Atletico Madrid welcome Bayer Leverkusen to Spain with the Germans having won the first leg 1-0. Atletico could be left to rue the failure to score an away goal and go into this game with only one win in six games. Their patchy recent form almost mirrors that of Chelsea who came unstuck last week. Diego Simeone’s team will be without Diego Godin and Thiago Mendes through suspension while Leverkusen are only a roll with five consecutive wins. If Leverkusen poach a goal, this is going to be really difficult for the home side.
Arsenal to win @11-8 Totesport
Monaco 1 Arsenal 2 @9-1 Paddy Power
Atletico Madrid to win @8-11 Bet365
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