When Monaco line up against Arsenal at the Emirates stadium on Wednesday evening for the first-leg of their Champions League tie, some of the players’ names will be familiar to fans of the London club, some will be unknown quantities.
The knockout stages of the Champions League are the perfect time for heroes to be made and legends to cement their place in history. Arsenal are definitely the stronger team and should progress, but Monaco, despite losing James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao this summer, have players all over the pitch that can cause Arsene Wenger problems.
Here are three players that Arsenal need to be wary of if they want to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
The Brazilian right-back has gone mostly under the radar this season. His attacking runs down the right and power and pace in defence have been a crucial part of Monaco’s success.
Fabinho has a great awareness of when to attack and when to make sure he’s in the right place at the right time at the back. He is tall and lanky and provides an aerial prowess in both attack and defence. Arsenal need to respect him at both ends of the pitch.
Bernardo Silva: Attacking Midfield
After signing his permanent deal in January, Bernardo Silva has sprung up as one of Monaco’s most exciting players. He has shown quality on both ends of the pitch. Aggression and drive in the defensive areas, then bursting forward, picking passes and scoring important goals to seal three 1-0 victories.
Silva will either play in the midfield three or on the wing, no matter where he plays; he will be of paramount importance to Monaco’s chances.
Yannick Ferreira Carrasco: Winger
Dimitar Berbatov and Jeremy Toulalan may be bigger, well-known names in the Monaco squad, but no one is of greater importance than Belgian winger Yannick Ferreira Carrasco. The 21-year-old has started 21 games this season in the league and has four goals and five assists.
He is able to beat you through the middle, he can go wide and beat you inside, and he can create chances or will beat you on his own.
Another gifted young Belgian player with so much talent and potential. Ferreira Carrasco has the ability to explode in either of the two legs, and with that ability, you have to be wary of giving him too much space and time on the counter-attack.