Arsenal need to break a 40-month Monaco run to reach quarter-finals

Stade Louis II Monaco

Arsenal need to score three goals to have a chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Easier said than done in Monaco.

The football world was sent into shock last night as AS Monaco not only caused an upset to beat Arsenal in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 clash, but scored three goals to give the London club a momentous uphill task to conquer in three weeks' time.

To make the quarter-finals of the Champions League, Arsenal must score three goals in the principality, and that in itself seems almost impossible.

The last time Monaco conceded three goals at home was back on the 9th of September 2011 when they lost 3-1 to SCO Angers. Even if Arsenal do match that result, it would only send the game into extra-time. Not only do Arsenal have to do what no team has done in over 40 months, they need to do it without conceding.

Around 4,000 people watched Les Monegasques lose that Ligue 2 game, but so much has changed at the club since that first season back in the second division.

That Monaco team is worlds away from the XI that Leonardo Jardim will send out for the second leg, although respectfully, Angers don’t have the same firepower that Arsenal possess.

This season, after a shaky start, Jardim has transformed this side in his own defensive image and it has been working perfectly. In the last 12 league games, Monaco have only conceded three times, including a run of eight games in the league without conceding a single goal.

The success hasn't come down to individual players, but it's Jardim's philosophy and the way he has organised the midfield and defence. Almost stumbling across his best centre-back pairing, Brazilian Wallace and Aymen Abdennour have been first choice when available, with Ricardo Carvalho and Andrea Raggi supplementing the back four in their absence.

Wednesday was a perfect example of Jardim's great work. Fabinho was playing in midfield, an 18-year-old was playing at right-back and everyone knew not only their role but everyone else’s too.

It is not impossible, Bordeaux beat Monaco 4-1 back at the start of the season, but that was before Jardim got his teachings across.

Monaco have gone four years without conceding three at home, they won't want to let that slip now.

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