We can consider ourselves quite lucky to have drawn AS Monaco in the last 16 of the Champions League this season, especially after finishing second in our group behind a domestically struggling Borussia Dortmund side.
That’s not to say that Monaco will just roll over and give up though, and we are still sure to be facing a couple of tricky fixtures against the French side – the first of which will be at the Emirates this Wednesday night.
Here are five key battles that we have to win if we are to come away with a result:
1) Laurent Koscielny vs Dimitar Berbatov
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The former Manchester United and Tottenham striker has a habit of scoring against us, and it’s something we obviously have to avoid.
Koscielny will have to be alert to his counterpart’s movements, and mustn’t lose concentration for a moment.
Berbatov’s lazy demeanour belies his true nature, and the lethal striker is capable of moments of brilliance.
2) Francis Coquelin vs Joao Moutinho
The Frenchman has been superb lately, and will need to put in another fine performance this Wednesday evening.
Moutinho may sit deep for large parts of the game, but his forward runs and forays into the final third need to be monitored carefully.
3) Santi Cazorla vs Geoffrey Kondogbia
Santi Cazorla and Mesut Özil have looked excellent when deployed together in midfield, and the creativity of the pair has been a joy to watch.
Monaco’s tough tackling midfielder will no doubt give them a hard time, and our Spaniard’s quick feet and ball retention could prove key to breaking down the defence.
4) Alexis Sanchez vs Fabinho
Fabinho is an attacking full-back, and looks to get forward for Monaco. The threat Sanchez offers may pin him back somewhat, but the Chilean will also have to be mindful of his defensive duties.
5) Olivier Giroud vs Aymen Abdennour
Abdennour has been superb for the Ligue 1 side this season, and with the absence of Ricardo Carvalho he could play an even more important role.
Giroud has been in fine form, but will need to be on his toes to get the better of the Tunisian.