Mesut Ozil says Arsenal must travel to Monaco believing they can defy the odds as they look to overcome a 3-1 first-leg deficit to progress to the Champions League quarter-final for the first time since 2010.
The Gunners need to score at least three times at the Stade Louis II following their suicidal showing at the Emirates; a tough ask given the Ligue 1 outfit have only conceded seven at home all season.
Targeting an early goal to get the ball rolling Ozil insists Arsenal have quality and momentum on their side.
“It’s very important to score early, but we will remain patient,” remarked the German international. “We want to fight and battle from the first minute until the last.
“This is a match that we are determined to win. We have to score three goals and our aim is to do just that while remaining tight in defence.
“If we play as we are capable of doing in Monaco, I still believe that we have a real chance to progress.
“We want to disrupt their rhythm and try to score as early as possible. It’s going to be difficult to score three times because they have defended well in the tournament so far, but if you look at our past matches and the way we played against Manchester United last week, I think there’s a chance we can still progress.”
“We have to believe in yourselves. When you believe in yourselves, a positive energy grows that you can achieve your aims. In football, things that may look unlikely can happen.
“I know that if we believe in ourselves and utilise our potential, we can still go through.”
You’ve got to admire Mesut’s optimism, however, only
five seven sides in Champions League history have overcome a first-leg deficit of two or more – Barcelona twice (vs AC Milan 2012/13 & vs Chelsea 1999/2000), Chelsea twice (vs Napoli 2011/12 & vs PSG 2013/14), Monaco (vs Real Madrid 2003/04), Deportivo La Coruna (vs AC Milan 2003/04) and Manchester United (vs Olympiakos 2013/14).
The difference for those sides is that their heroics played out in front of home support. We don’t make life easy for ourselves do we?