Wenger has faith in Arsenal comeback

The Gunners go to Monaco looking to overcome an unlikely 3-1 deficit.

Afp March 16, 2015
Arsenal need to score three goals if they are to have any hopes of going through to the next round. PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID/ PARIS: Arsene Wenger believes that Arsenal have the form to outclass Monaco on Tuesday and reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

The Gunners slumped to a shock 3-1 loss to the Principality side in the first leg at The Emirates, but have since impressed with a 2-1 FA Cup win at Manchester United and a 3-0 trouncing of West Ham on Saturday in their fifth consecutive league win.

Goals from Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini in the London derby kept Arsenal in third place, seven points behind Chelsea in the league, albeit with the leaders having one game in hand.

The manner of these two wins also gave Wenger hope that he can celebrate his return to Monaco, where he made his managerial reputation as coach from 1987-94, with a famous win.

“We now go to Monaco, come out of a big week, played at Manchester United, played today a derby. We have a little belief,” he said. “If you have no belief, you have no chance. We have to have belief and give everything.”

Arsenal will have to do what no other side has managed in the UEFA Champions League era — win after going into an away tie needing to score more than once to avoid elimination.

Wenger’s upbeat comments, however, were echoed by Welsh midfielder Ramsey, who is back to near his top form after returning from a third hamstring injury of the season.

“We need to score goals. So we will go there and try to score three or more goals and hopefully not concede any. That’s our target and that’s how we will approach it,” said Ramsey, who missed the first leg. “We had a sloppy first leg and we’ve made it quite difficult for ourselves but it’s not over yet. We are more than capable of scoring three goals. We’ll go into the game believing we can achieve that.”

Monaco also go into the last 16 tie with a good win behind them, having thumped Bastia 3-0 at home on Friday.

Atletico look to home comforts to oust Leverkusen

Atletico Madrid will once again have to rely on their formidable home form as they look to overcome a 1-0 first leg deficit against Bayer Leverkusen to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Last season’s beaten finalists have failed to win a game since falling to Hakan Calhanoglu’s stunning strike at the Bay Arena three weeks ago.

However, they have won 20 of their last 22 European games at the Vicente Calderon, including wins in all three of their group games earlier this season without conceding a goal.

Another clean sheet is likely to be in order if Diego Simeone’s men are to progress to the last eight with goals of their own in short supply in recent weeks. Since thrashing Real Madrid 4-0 last month, Los Rojiblancos have found the net just once in their last four games.

“In football there are moments in a season where sometimes you are more deadly in front of goal than others. Sometimes the goal comes easily and other time you have loads of good chances and it doesn’t go in,” said Simeone. “We need to keep going, roll up our sleeves and work hard because that is the only way we know how to improve.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2015.

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