Monaco can beat Arsenal – Jardim

The coach is confident that his side can stifle the attack of their opponents and feels they can progress to the quarter-finals of the competition

Leonardo Jardim believes his Monaco side can defy the odds by knocking Arsenal out of the Champions League. 

The Ligue 1 club go into Wednesday’s round-of-16 first-leg tie at the Emirates Stadium as underdogs despite finishing top of Group C.

Arsenal have won eight of their last nine games in all competitions and the London club will be expected to secure another victory in Arsene Wenger’s first game against his former employers.

The Gunners have failed to progress beyond the second round in each of the past four seasons, being knocked out by Bayern Munich twice in a row most recently after losing to Barcelona and AC Milan in the years prior. 

By comparison, Monaco are a more manageable opponent for Arsenal, but Jardim says his side were pleased to draw them.

He told reporters: “Arsenal have developed a lot over the last couple of years and they’re a better side than they were two or three years ago. Our strategy is to try and be solid and to not allow Arsenal’s key attacking players to unbalance us.

“It wasn’t only Arsenal fans who were happy after the draw, we were happy as well.

“Clearly a number of other teams were hoping to draw Monaco, but that doesn’t mean we have less ambition going into this game. Monaco fans were also happy because it’s what everyone wanted in the draw.

“Monaco have never been favourites in this competition and we still qualified at the top of our group – it’s the same with this game. Nobody expects us to win but that should not stop us being able to get into the quarter-finals.”

Jardim will check on the fitness of full-back Layvin Kurzawa (calf) and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco (knock) before naming his side.

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