When Arsenal finished second in the Champions League group once again this year Arsene Wenger quipped that over the weekend before the Champions League draw on Monday he would go to church and pray that his team did not have to face Bayern Munich, again.
While he was there he probably also prayed to face one team in particular ... AS Monaco.
Not only because the Ligue 1 side are considered the easiest tie possible for group runner-ups, after they defeated Bayer Leverkusen, Zenit St Petersburg and Benfica, but because Monaco hold a special place in the Arsenal gaffer's heart.
Wenger spent seven years as the manager of Monaco between 1987 and 1994 before being sacked and moving on to Arsenal after a short spell in Japan.
Since then he has never faced Monaco in a competitive match, he even admitted today that he has never even been back to the Stade Louis II stadium in the 21 years since he left the club.
He told Arsenal.com:
"We had very few chances to get Monaco and I think it’s a strange coincidence in life because I’ve spent 25 years of my life at Monaco and Arsenal together, so it’s a little bit like my life meets my life.
"It’s good as well because I go back to basically where I started. I've never [been back], because I was always very busy and since I’ve been here in England we’ve played every three days basically throughout the whole season. I’ve been back to the city a few times but never to the stadium.
However he was soon back to business, insisting they must take Monaco seriously or risk defeat at the second round stage once again:
"Overall it’s an opportunity for us to get through to the quarter-final. Having said that, Monaco is a tough draw because they’ve come top out of a very tough group and that means it’s a signal for us to be ready to meet a tough team who defend very well and are very quick on counter-attacks. We need a good defensive performance against them."
Here's hoping many happy returns for Arsene Wenger when he takes his Arsenal side to Monaco on the 17th MArch next year.