Olivier Giroud and Mathieu Debuchy insist Monaco will pose a stiff challenge to Arsenal in the knockout round of the Champions League, despite the Gunners being favourites to win the two-leg tie against Arsene Wenger’s former club.
It looked as though Arsenal would once again be pitted against one of Europe’s powerhouses after they finished second behind in their group behind Borussia Dortmund, only for the draw to pair them with a comparatively inexperienced Monaco side that squirmed into top place of Group C with only four goals to their name.
“I’m not relieved, no,” Giroud told L’Equipe [translated by ESPN] after watching the draw, “But it’s true that we had not been spoiled by the draw in recent seasons.
“Since I arrived at Arsenal, we have come up against Bayern twice in the last 16. That was a very tough draw. I have a friend who called me and said: ‘Oh, it’s good, a French team, you’re lucky!’. Meaning, ‘it’s going to be easy’. Well, we’ll have to see after the game.
“I think it’s 50/50. Monaco are a good team, even if they don’t have a lot of Champions League experience. They are a young team with very good players.”
Mathieu Debuchy, another of Arsenal’s ‘Frenchies’, told RMC he was looking forward to returning to his homeland for a ‘tough’ encounter.
“It’s rather nice to come back and play in France. It’ll be special. But it’ll be good for us. There are a lot of French in the Monaco team. For the coach too. It’ll be a good game.
“I have not seen all Monaco’s matches, but they have a strong team. They have very good players in their team. I’m expecting a tough game.”
Monaco appear to be warming up for the encounter with something of an Arsenal love in. Tactical we’re sure.
Yesterday the Ligue 1 side released a statement relaying how much they’re looking forward to reuniting with Arsene Wenger (20 years after they sacked him) and today they’ve sent a message to Thierry Henry wishing him well in retirement.
In return, Arseblog News will be sending a turd in a shoebox to Dimitar Berbatov.