Arsenal travel to Monaco with renewed confidence
Arsenal were on the floor after losing 3-1 to Monaco last month but the Londoners have rebuilt confidence enough to believe they can overturn their Champions League deficit in Tuesday`s return match.
Paris: Arsenal were on the floor after losing 3-1 to Monaco last month but the Londoners have rebuilt confidence enough to believe they can overturn their Champions League deficit in Tuesday`s return match.
Since being beaten in the last-16 first leg at The Emirates, the Gunners have bounced back by knocking Manchester United out of the FA Cup and by overcoming West Ham United, Queens Park Rangers and Everton in the Premier League. "I think we have pulled ourselves together," midfielder Francis Coquelin told the club`s website (www.arsenal.com). "There are quite a lot of things to change after you lose 3-1 at home but we`ve done that in recent games.
"We haven’t conceded many goals and we`ve been scoring goals as well. We haven`t lost a game since Monaco and confidence is high."
France striker Olivier Giroud, who had a terrible game in the first leg, also seems to be back to his best and scored the opening goal in Saturday`s 3-0 win over West Ham. "(Responding) is one of his strengths. This is a boy who played at the age of 22 or 23 in division three," said manager Arsene Wenger of Giroud`s spell with the Tours club.
"He`s come out and become an international footballer. You need some mental strength to do that."
Wenger is likely to start Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield after they were rested on Saturday.
Like Arsenal, Monaco`s self-belief is also high after they brushed Bastia aside 3-0 in Ligue 1 on Friday thanks to an Anthony Martial double. Martial started after coach Leonardo Jardim rested Dimitar Berbatov and the 19-year-old forward produced a sterling performance as Monaco remained fourth in the table. Only once this season have the principality club conceded three goals or more, a 4-1 defeat at Girondins de Bordeaux in August.
"The ingredients we need to qualify? We`ll need to make sure we don`t concede or concede as few as possible, keep calm whatever happens...and take our chances," said defender Wallace. "A draw would be a great result for us thanks to our good win in the first leg."