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Dublin: 1°C Friday 7 May 2021
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It’s an incredibly difficult assignment for the North Londoners tonight. Trailing 3-1 from that nightmarish first-leg, they have to score three times and hope the Ligue Un side don’t find the net.

The biggest issue is that Monaco are tight at the back and don’t make a habit of conceding goals – they allowed just one in the entire group stage.

But, an early goal will give Arsenal hope.

As always, we’d love to hear from you. Email us, tweet us or leave a message on our Facebook page.

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Hello everyone and I hope you’re having a nice Paddy’s Day. And after a day off, what better way to ease you back to reality than watching Arsenal get eliminated from Europe…? I jest. They still have a chance and whenever there’s a side chasing goals to stay in the tournament, good entertainment is a given.

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And incredibly attack-minded Arsenal team. Sure they need goals but they also need for Monaco not to score to make the job as ‘easy’ as possible. The only change from the first leg is Nacho Monreal coming in for Kieran Gibbs. Santi Cazorla is retained in that deep-midfield role with the attacking quartet of Welbeck, Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Giroud.

Wenger with Monaco in 1991.

He won a league title and a French Cup in his seven seasons there but the team repeatedly ran Marseille close domestically.

Soccer - French - Premiere Division - Monaco Source: Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport

Special guest in Monaco this evening. It would be The Sweetest Thing if Arsenal went through tonight though the hosts will surely have the Desire to see it out. But football works in Mysterious Ways sometimes and the Gunners need to believe they can Walk On and make it a Beautiful Day.

If you’re big into your stats and history, it really doesn’t look good for Arsenal.

The teams are on the pitch and we’re almost there. Final thoughts everyone?

2Mins

First glimpse of Berbatov as he makes a run into the right channel but he’s offside and play is called back…

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CLOSE! Good break down the left side by Monaco and Berba tees it up for Moutinho on the edge of the area. He looks to bend it to the top corner and doesn’t miss by much.

5Mins

Already you can see the hosts have pinpointed the right side of Arsenal’s defence. Bellerin may have a difficult night.

8Mins

Coquelin absolutely cements Moutinho from behind and it’s a free-kick to Monaco here. Good position…and the Portuguese midfielder floats a hopeless delivery right into the arms of Ospina.

11Mins

Good to see Berba hasn’t changed much since heading to France. He drops very deep and picks it up wide right. He plays a loose pass and Monaco do well to keep hold of it…until Berba picks it up again and pings a highly-ambitious pass with the outside of his right boot down the line. Unsurprisingly, no one is on his wave-length…

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CLOSE! Arsenal have selected a litany of attacking players but haven’t been able to get them on the ball in dangerous zones yet. Until now…Sanchez turns in the right channel and Bellerin chases on the overlap. He gets to the by-line, sends in a great cross and Giroud rises highest but can only steer it wide of the far upright.

17Mins

Welbeck burns down the left side and it’s an imposing run. But, his touch is too heavy as he approaches goal and it allows a defender to get across and break up the play. Fine margins.

17Mins

Better from the guests in the last few minutes but some nice touches from the home side in the final third that hints at danger.

19Mins

Giroud uses his strength in the corner to hold off a couple of challenges. He gets his head up and clips in a cross for Cazorla who’s readying himself for the volley. He makes contact but the shot is blocked and there are a few half-hearted appeals for hand-ball. Nothing given though.

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VERY CLOSE! Arsenal should be in front, no question. From the free-kick, the ball is flicked on by a Monaco head and Koscielny finds himself a few yards from goal with only Subasic to beat. But the effort hits the bar and goes over the top. As it turns out, the officials have given offside which seems a very strange decision. It should’ve counted if the centre-back had been able to score.

27Mins

After that scare, Monaco have kept the ball well in the last few minutes. Clever from them. Take a breather and not allow Arsenal build on the momentum. That left side with Kuzawa and Martial is looking sharp, by the way.

27Mins

Sanchez looks Arsenal’s most dangerous player so far and he pops up again in the right channel of the area after a neat one-two. But his cross is dealt with and Monaco continue to frustrate the North Londoners.

30Mins

More perspiration from Arsenal as Sanchez whips in another decent cross from the right and Welbeck nods it back inside towards Giroud but as tries to let it move across his body and shoot with his right boot, he’s crowded out by a hungry Monaco defence and it’s just all a little too slow from the Frenchman.

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GOAL! Giroud! Breakthrough for Arsenal as Welbeck slips in Giroud, Subasic stops his initial effort but it comes back to him and he rifles it to the roof of the net. Game on now.

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VERY CLOSE! Welbeck lashes in a shot towards goal and it’s deflected about an inch wide! Almost a second in a matter of minutes for the guests.

42Mins

A cute pass from Welbeck and Giroud does well with the finish – not much to aim at with the two players on the line. Nicely done.

Source: @OGuiadoFutebol/Vine

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PENALTY CLAIM! This is clumsy from Dirar who’s following Alexis Sanchez into the left channel of the penalty area. It’s not a malicious challenge but he appears to take the Chilean’s legs and the attacker tumbles to the ground. But the referee thinks he’s dived and shows him a yellow card for his troubles.     

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CLOSE! Great feet from Welbeck in the right channel and he whips in a cross for Giroud but his reactions aren’t quick enough and the ball essentially just deflects off him and into Subasic’s grateful arms.

45Mins

Welbeck pops up in the right channel again and takes the shot on. Ambitious and it’s straight at Subasic who doesn’t hold it but wraps it up at the second attempt.

Decent half from Arsenal. They took their time to get into the game as Monaco caused them some problems down the flanks. But Alexis Sanchez began to make some space, Welbeck found his stride too and it was the latter who slipped it through for Giroud to knock home the opener.

Classic Kerr-ism on 3e’s coverage of the game.

‘Giroud…it hits him on the back of the loaf there’. Classic.

Yes, Ozil was swapping his shirt as he walked off at half-time. It’s really not a big deal. It’s so commonplace now and a pointless argument to have.

46Mins

Great break from Arsenal down the left as Giroud flicks on for Sanchez and when the cross comes in for Welbeck, Giroud is there to follow up on the loose ball. He’s closed down by Wallace as he goes to strike and it’s well wide. Good early intent though.

49Mins

That’s lovely. Giroud & Welbeck combine with some neat touches and Arsenal break at pace. Ozil races wide left and Welbeck picks him out. The cross is cleared though and Arsenal’s subsequent corner comes to nothing.

53Mins

YELLOW CARD! Kondogbia goes in the book after catching Sanchez late and this is a decent position here for the free-kick.

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CLOSE! Not a lot of pace on the strike but Ozil makes Subasic work at his near post and the keeper has to tip it over the top.

57Mins

Sanchez has been brought down again and this is just a little bit farther out from where Ozil tried his luck a few moments ago.

57Mins

Arsenal try something different and the delivery is floated to the back stick but nothing comes of it.

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CLOSE! Down the other end, suddenly there’s space for Monaco on the counter-attack and Dirar is through on Ospina after a clever through-ball. The keeper saves and it bounces clear on the rebound though it’s whistled for offside and wouldn’t have counted anyway.

60Mins

And that’s superb from Koscielny! In quick succession, he’s had to make two excellent defensive headers as Monaco increase the pressure.

61Mins

SUBSTITUTION! Ferreira-Carrasco (on) – Martial (off)

First change of the night and it’s for the hosts. Like-for-like and the Belgian just may provide some extra spark.

64Mins

SUBSTITUTION! Ramsey (on) – Coquelin (off)

Renewed sense of energy in the middle of the park but Wenger continues his offensive gamble. With 25 minutes left, he probably has to make the change.

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CLOSE! Ozil tries a snapshot after Welbeck is crowded out in the area and the ball breaks for him. It’s a great chance but he catches it with the outside of his boot too much and it drifts wide of the far post.

66Mins

Ferreira-Carrasco has an immediate impact as he races towards goal and takes on Arsenal’s covering defenders. He cuts inside them both and moves towards the area but the angle gets increasingly wide and he loses possession as he tries to jink past Koscielny. Still, a warning for the guests.

70Mins

SUBSTITUTION! Bernardo Silva (on) – Berbatov (off) 

The Bulgarian hasn’t done much tonight and a change in the final third could provide Monaco with more movement and energy.

70Mins

SUBSTITUTION! Walcott (on) – Welbeck (off)

It was an inevitable move and Arsenal will hope the winger’s pace can unlock the Monaco defence again.

72Mins

CLOSE! Ferreira-carrasco pops up in the right channel and takes on Monreal. He easily gets past him and flashes a cross-cum-shot towards goal. It zips past everyone and Arsenal are lucky to escape.

74Mins

15 minutes to go. Sanchez is brought down again and Arsenal have a free-kick. They’ll loft this in…

76Mins

It’s easily cleared but the ball comes back towards goal and Giroud forces a corner. Good pressure from Arsenal here. Still, no real chance created in quite a while. Optimistic to think two goals will come along?

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Incredible stuff here! After a great run down the left side, the ball was crossed into Walcott who hits the post. Arsenal players can’t believe it but Kurzawa passes straight to Ramsey in the area and the Welshman, just on as a replacement, gleefully accepts the gift and rifles a low strike across goal to the bottom corner. Awful, awful from Monaco.

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Cracking finish from Ramsey and Wenger’s risk has paid off. Huge 10 minutes left here…

http://vine.co/v/OVpjPE2qzX3

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VERY CLOSE! This is remarkable. From Ozil’s free-kick, Giroud flicks towards goal at the far post and Subasic makes the save but is behind his line when he pushes the ball away. Lots of appeals for a goal but, thanks to technology, it’s not a debate anymore! Monaco have lost their way completely and are hanging on with their fingernails.

86Mins

SUBSTITUTIONS! By the way, Gibbs has come in for Monreal in a straight swap in the last few moments while Elderson has replaced Dirar for Monaco.

87Mins

88Mins

Just 2 minutes of normal time left. And it’s pinball in the Monaco area. But still no clear-cut chance. They go again…

90Mins

Well it’s a great finale but Arsenal can’t find their targets…

90Mins

As impressive as Monaco were in the first leg, they’ve been very average here. Granted a different type of pressure but the ball retention has been so poor and the two goals have come from individual errors.

90Mins

Wow. A grandstand finish so we’ll need some time to fully regroup after a frantic last ten minutes. Arsenal were much better tonight & played with energy, purpose and adventure. But, as much as they dominated and created ‘chances’, there were a lot more half-chances with both their goals coming from Monaco mistakes.

But Wenger’s changes worked. Substitute Theo Walcott hit the post and the ball kindly fell to another replacement, Ramsey, to score the second and give them renewed hope. But we never saw Walcott after that. Was he held back? Should he have been on sooner and allowed to run at the Monaco defence instead of simply lining up as another attacker when Arsenal laid siege to the hosts’ goal?

What will probably hurt most of all is the references to spirit and bravery, etc. Arsenal had to conjure a decent performance – it really was the least they could do. And they’ve made a habit of similar nearly-wins against Milan and Bayern. This is a tie that should’ve been dealt with in London and instead was allowed fester. Again, they’ve paid the consequences.

Thanks for staying with us this evening and there will be more reaction to Arsenal’s exit on the site throughout the night and tomorrow too.

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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