The Champions League returns with a tasty French affair as Arsenal face Monaco in a tie which has one thing in common, Arsene Wenger. The professor was the coach of Monaco a long time back, most fans won’t remember much about that time but he did win Ligue 1 with Monaco all those years ago in 1988.
With Arsenal never having won the UEFA Champions League, this could be a tie they would be looking to win rather easily, Monaco are fourth in Ligue 1, something that Arsenal can relate to. We look at 3 key battles in the game which could decide which team has the advantage in the next leg of this battle.
Olivier Giroud vs. Dimitar Berbatov
The battle of the forwards will be an interesting one, Olivier Giroud is a player who always seems to be up for the big games and he will be looking to continue his scoring record as he takes on a French team. Dimitar Berbatov is not new taking on Arsenal after not only playing in England but he played for the Gunners’ great rivals Tottenham.
Berbatov might be the player who might not provide as much bite in attack as Giroud but one thing is for sure, he will be up for the game and will be looking to prove a point to the Arsenal fans that he still can give something to his club.
Francis Coquelin vs. Geoffrey Kondogbia
While the battle of the forwards might not be something that will be an actual head to head, the battle between these two young French midfielders will be something worth keeping an eye out for. Coquelin and Kondogbia are both young and play in the defensive midfielder’s position. They are highly rated and do not look to give an inch to the other team.
The rise of Coquelin and his importance to an Arsenal team which does not really have a proper defensive midfielder cannot be stressed enough, while Kondogbia has impressed since he has moved back to Ligue 1 with Monaco and this battle right here could actually decide which team has the upper hand in the match.
Alexis Sanchez vs. Layvin Kurzawa
The young French left back might have one of the toughest jobs in the world right now, he could have to take on the wily character that is Alexis Sanchez. Kurzawa might be highly rated but the 22 year old would have his work really cut out to keep Sanchez quiet.
Sanchez has been excellent since he has signed for the Gunners and will be looking to take them to Champions League glory, this might be one battle too tough for the young Kurzawa, but if he is able to keep the Chilean in control in the game, he could give his unfancied Monaco team a real chance to go through.