Knockout Curse Haunting Arsenal

Image courtesy of youaremyarsenal.com
Olivier Giroud is in career-best form right now. Image courtesy of youaremyarsenal.com

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Arsenal v AS Monaco


Emirates Stadium, London

Thursday February 26 – 5:45am (AEST)

UCL Form:


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Arsenal host Monaco on Thursday morning (AEST) looking to overturn a UCL knockout round curse that has haunted them for the past few years.

 

In contrast to recent years, Arsenal finally struck some luck in the Round of 16 draw of the Champions League. In the four seasons leading up to this campaign, the Gunners had drawn AC Milan, Barcelona and Bayern Munich twice at this stage of the competition. Arsene Wenger’s side failed to progress on all four occasions, but this time they find themselves in a favourable position to advance into the quarter-finals with a seemingly straight forward passage against Monaco. Arsenal take solid form into Thursday’s match, winning eight out of their past nine games in all competitions. Since returning from injury in December last year, French striker Olivier Giroud hasn’t looked back. The 28-year-old is currently enjoying arguably the best form of his career, and he again featured on the scoresheet in his side’s 2-1 EPL win over Crystal Palace on the weekend.

Monaco sealed top spot of Group C and a place in the last 16 with a 2-0 win over Zenit St. Petersburg in their final group match. However, if the French outfit had of lost that match, it would be a completely different story. Despite their accomplishments on the continental stage, Leonardo Jardim’s men have struggled domestically since loaning out star striker Radamel Falcao to Manchester United. Monaco currently occupy fourth in the Ligue 1 standings, 11 points adrift of front runners Lyon. Former Fulham, Spurs and Red Devils striker Dimitar Berbatov knows what it takes to score against Arsenal at the Emirates, and he poses as one of Monaco’s biggest attacking threats, even at the age of 34.

Home ground advantage sees Arsenal head into this match as commanding favourites, but will their curse of the knockout stage continue? The two sides met in August last year in a pre-season friendly, and the French team came up trumps with a 1-0 win.   

 

 

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