Monaco 0 – 2 Arsenal
You could say that it was mission impossible. The first leg was a shambles, but Arsenal travelled to Monaco with a quiet confidence. It was to be a big night, either way.
Monaco started brilliantly, leaving Arsenal on the back foot.
The French were compact, energetic and aggresive off the ball. Yet Arsenal managed to weather the storm and regain their composure over the course of the half.
Thankfully, they composed themselves just enough to get a goal before half time.
Welbeck put Giroud through on goal, but Olivier’s initial shot was blocked by the goalkeeper. However, he kept possession and managed to smash the ball into the roof of the net. It was an awesome finish.
“The game was crying out for Walcott, yet it took until the seventieth minute to see him.”
The second began as a scrappy affair.
Both sides were starting to show weakness at the back, and yet neither side were taking their chances.
Arsenal were looking slower and slower, with Welbeck in particular dragging his feet all over the place. The game was crying out for Walcott, yet it took until the seventieth minute to see him.
More hope was given when Arsenal got their second goal, though.
A great ball from Ozil to Monreal in the seventy-ninth minute split the defence. The cross then came to Walcott, who struck the post. However, Ramsey was able to gather the ball and smash it into the bottom corner. Game bloody on.
“Ozil in particular was working in all areas of the pitch to make things happen, but Monaco were simply too well set up.”
The final ten minutes were nerve racking.
To their credit, Arsenal pushed very hard. Ozil in particular was working in all areas of the pitch to make things happen, but Monaco were simply too well set up.
Crosses came in, shots were blocked and fouls were committed. Yet the third goal just didn’t come.
Arsenal Player Ratings
Had almost nothing to do.
Monreal: [8/10] – MOTM
An awesome performance. Worked hard in defence and got forward very well. A good run and cross in the build up to Ramsey’s goal.
Battled for ninety minutes and kept Arsenal’s clean sheet in tact. Got forward well too.
Made some good tackles and headers, wasn’t troubled much personally.
An impressive display. He overlapped all game, yet defended when he needed to. Won balls back countless times, and his crossing was mostly good.
Coquelin is Coquelin. He shuts people down. Although Monaco simply weren’t attacking in the latter stages of the game, so Wenger was right to sub him off for Ramsey.
Mesut did well today. He worked very hard on and off the ball, made good passes and very nearly scored a free kick. His great ball over the top allowed Ramsey’s goal to happen. Nobody was working harder in the closing minutes.
Santi faded in the final minutes due to fatigue, but he was solid all game in his new found role.
Out of form. He lost the ball far too often, passed poorly and just couldn’t settle in. Had a header saved off the line in the second half though. Unfairly booked for “Diving”.
Poor movement, poor passing, poor everything. He got the assist for Giroud, but even that pass was over-hit. He’s just not good enough, in my opinion.
Took his chance brilliantly, but he might have done a little more tonight. I felt he could have dropped into the midfield a little more like he usually does, but he did well anyway.
Ramsey: [7.5/10], Walcott: [6.5/10], Gibbs [6.5/10]
Well, I don’t think anybody truly expected us to go through, but it was a valiant effort. And it was so damn close, too.
Alexis and Welbeck didn’t do enough, while Ozil, Cazorla, Bellerin and Monreal really gave it their all. The third goal just wasn’t there, unfortunately.
Still, Arsenal can take a lot of confidence from the performance. The second half was truly excellent.
Wembely soon, and our league position is curious. Focus is key.