Arsenal 1 Monaco 3: Arsenal sink to a new Champions League low

COMMENT: Arsenal had dreams of reaching this season's final after their 'lucky' draw against Monaco - but look set to fail at the first knock-out hurdle yet again

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Arsenal have suffered a lot of disappointing nights in the Champions League over the years, but they sunk to a new low against Monaco tonight.

Instead of being able to dream of causing a surprise by going all the way to the final in Berlin in June, Arsenal look like they will be on the receiving end of an embarrassing upset themselves.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's late curled effort briefly gave some much needed hope of a miraculous turnaround in three weeks, only for Arsenal to incredibly gift a third goal to Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco.

It should be noted that Monaco had scored just four times in the group stage, yet they almost doubled that tally in one match.

 

Rather than getting closer to getting his hands on European football's greatest prize, manager Arsene Wenger looks further away than ever.

This was supposed to be the season where their fortunes in the last 16, let alone the competition, would change for the better.

A place in the last eight had eluded them since 2010, yet there had always been the excuse of meeting some of Europe's finest in Bayern Munich (twice), Barcelona and AC Milan.

But this time the draw had been far more kind. A match-up with Monaco, a team that had seen prize assets James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao (on loan) and Emmanuel Riviere leave last summer.

The visitors, who currently sit fourth in the French League, were also weakened by injury problems to several key players and it looked like Arsenal had a fairly easy task to establish a healthy advantage in the first leg.

Granted Monaco arrived at Emirates Stadium boasting a mean defensive record. In the group stage they kept five clean sheets and recently went 832 minutes without letting in a goal in the French League.

Still it was a side that had ageing Dimitar Berbatov leading the line, a player that failed to shine at Manchester United after starring at Tottenham.

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Dimitar Berbatov celebrates his goal against Arsenal

 

Perhaps Arsene Wenger's men came into the encounter thinking their place in the next round was already assured. There had to be some explanation for such a lethargic performance.

It didn't help that main striker Olivier Giroud had a game to forget on the biggest stage of them all.

A minute before Geoffrey Kondogbia's deflected shot opened the scoring for the away side, Giroud skied the first of many great opportunities over the bar.

Worse was to come after the break, with three chances sent high, wide and not very handsome from the six yard box.

He punched the turf in frustration, but his feelings of angst was nothing compared to the anger being directed to the players from the stands.

To make matters worse, Arsenal fell for the obvious European sucker punch - Monaco breaking into vast empty space and it was Berbatov, of all people, who took great delight in finding the net.

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David Ospina sees Monaco score the opening goal

 

A similar lack of discipline was exposed for the crucial third goal in injury time, just moments after Oxlade-Chamberlain had briefly lifted spirits.

The final whistle brought boos from around the ground, apart from the tiny pocket of Monaco fans.

The final words of the announcer said at the end 'a very good night from Arsenal' - it was anything but.

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