Ahead of their European tussle on Wednesday, club chief Vadim Vasilyev says the pressure is resting squarely on the Gunners’ shoulders
Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev has fired a warning shot at Champions League last 16 opponents Arsenal by reminding them they were beaten at the Emirates Stadium in pre-season.
After being Paris Saint-Germain’s main competition in Ligue 1 in the previous campaign, the departures of James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao – and a lack of replacement signings – hit Monaco hard.
However, after a torrid start to the season, the principality club have bounced back and sit fourth in Ligue 1, although they are still 11 points adrift of table-toppers Lyon.
After topping their Champions League group, Monaco were drawn against Arsene Wenger’s Gunners in the last 16 and, ahead of Wednesday’s first leg, Vasilyev has reminded them of the result in the Emirates Cup last summer, where they won 1-0.
“There is a lot of history between these two clubs,” the Stade Louis II chief told L’Equipe . “We both had Wenger coach us, [Thierry] Henry played for both of us.
“We enjoyed a good result at the Emirates last summer, too, when we won 1-0. Now, in a competitive game, we have nothing to lose.
“We want to show that we have young players and that our team has no fear. They’re capable of rising to a high level – the project here isn’t dead as people claimed earlier this season.
“The pressure is on Arsenal, who have been unable to get past the last 16 in recent seasons.”
Vasilyev also confirmed that Leonardo Jardim – who took over from axed coach Claudio Ranieri last summer – wants to remain at Monaco beyond this campaign.
“On Thursday, over lunch, Jardim told me he wants to stay beyond this season,” he added. “He’s settled in very well here. He likes it in Monaco and so do his family.
“There is an option for 2016-17, but it’s too early to talk about it.”
Experienced midfielder Jeremy Toulalan’s contract runs out this summer and Vasilyev confirmed that Monaco have made the Frenchman an offer and are awaiting his decision.
“I hope he extends his deal,” the club chief continued. “He is essential for our team. We’ve offered him a new deal and now the ball is in his court.”
Toulalan will miss the clash with Arsenal this week due to suspension.