Monaco vs Arsenal: Arsene Wenger backs Arsenal to produce 'special' comeback in Monaco following West Ham win

Only six teams in 59 years of the European Cup have gone through in knockout rounds after losing a first leg at home

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The Independent Football

Arsène Wenger believes Arsenal have the desire to “create something special” and come back from 3-1 down against Monaco in the Champions League tomorrow.

Wenger’s side got precisely the score they need to go through in the European tie from Saturday’s home match against West Ham United, winning  3-0, and Wenger thinks they can recover what looks a near-impossible situation by applying the same approach in the principality.

“Doing what we did [on Saturday], going until the last second, be patient, play a quality game [Arsenal can go through],” Wenger said.

“Focus on the quality of what we want to do and try to do it together. We are in a position where today Monaco is favourite. We can go there and create something special. I believe that we will have the desire to do it and give absolutely everything to do it.”


Illustrating the scale of Arsenal’s task beyond the two-goal deficit, only six teams in 59 years of the European Cup have gone through in knockout rounds after losing a first leg at home. Wenger admitted that his side had lost their composure in that defeat, but argued that the performance wasn’t as bad as the final score made it look. “We knew we were impatient and threw ourselves forward too much, and that we lost our patience and composure.”

He also disputed Dimitar Berbatov’s claim that Monaco wanted it more in the first leg. “I don’t believe that,” Wenger said. “I think we wanted too much to make a difference in the first game and forgot our basics. That means to defend well and attack well.

Arsène Wenger said Arsenal lacked patience in the first-leg home defeat against Monaco

“We just focused on attacking well. Because it didn’t go in, we opened ourselves up. If you analysed well the numbers – I am used to analysing the numbers – you would revise a bit the assessment of the game. We have got it wrong in the first game. What you want in life is the chance to put it right. We have the opportunity to put it right and we will be ready to give everything to do it.”

Picking up a similar theme, Olivier Giroud poetically described football as “an everlasting new beginning”. The striker was criticised for missing a series of chances in the first leg against Monaco, but has showed resilience by scoring in the last two league games since then, including the first just before half-time in the win over West Ham. Late strikes from Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini sealed the points.

“Football is a sport where you need to have a strong mentality because you have to face some difficulties. It’s like life. Even when you play well and score a lot of goals, if you miss some everything is forgotten,” Giroud said. “You have to have a conscience about it and be aware. Don’t believe the people who talk too much about football. I’m not used to reading the media. I know when I play well or not. I know how to bounce back. I used to say that football is an everlasting new beginning. You have to be aware of that and do it.

“You have to question yourself every week and bounce back. I try to show my answer on the pitch with my mentality.”