Wenger sounds warning to Arsenal squad ahead of Monaco clash

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger has warned his players not to repeat the mistakes of past Champions League campaigns ahead of Wednesday night's last-16 first-leg clash with Monaco.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned his squad not to get complacent ahead of their Champions League last-16 tie with Monaco.

The Gunners have fallen at the first hurdle of the knockout stages for four successive seasons, but are considered firm favourites to progress past the French side going into tomorrow night’s first-leg at the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger believes that his side have learnt from their past mistakes, but stresses that they will only make it to the competition’s quarter-final stages “with the right commitment”.

“I don’t know if we are favourites or not, for me it is a 50:50 game,” he said. “Every time we have been in there it was hard-earned wins. It is always a one-goal difference - you go out for one goal, you stay in for one goal and that means you have to work very hard.

“What has happened in the last four years is that we have gone out twice against the winners of the competition. What we have learnt is that it was on [away goals] or because of one goal, which shows you that every single minute of these games will be absolutely massively important. We have gone out, yes, but only just. We want to stay in, even if it is [only] just.

“In the last four years we always came out frustrated because three times we conceded a goal at home in the first 30 minutes. That goal knocked us out. It was really tight. We have learnt from that and we can show that on Wednesday.”

Monaco are on an impressive run of form, sitting fourth in Ligue 1 with one defeat in their last 17 total matches, and topped their Champions League group over Leverkusen, Zenit St Petersburg and Benfica after scoring four goals and conceding just one in their six fixtures.

Arsenal themselves have won eight of their last nine games, but Wenger is expecting a tough contest.

“I believe they are a very strong team physically and that’s also why they’re defensively strong,” he added. “They’re a disciplined team who work hard for each other and that means they’re efficient.”

Jack Wilshere has been ruled out of the match after missing training as he continues his bid to return from an ankle operation, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain goalkeeper David Ospina are both fit and in contention to start.

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