By Walter Broeckx
The first thing we must check when we look at this draw is : what did Wenger do on Sunday? He jokingly said this last Saturday in his post match press conference: “on the Champions League draw…
We have been well served in the recent years. Maybe I will go to church over the weekend. I don’t think many teams want Real Madrid. We do not want Bayern Munich and I’m sure they do not want us either.”
So the main question is : did he go or not? Not that it really matters in fact but it is a nice change compared to our annual meetings with Bayern or Barcelona.
It still is an eternity in football terms before we really are out on the field so between now and then anything can happen and we could be starting both with completely different players by that time. There is still a transfer window in between our meetings as you will know.
But with Monaco we do get an opponent that is not really unfamiliar and has some relations between Arsenal people and the club from the principality that plays in France.
Of course there is the fact that Wenger was in charge of Monaco for some 8 years. So he knows the streets of Monaco one could say. So that is a clear link between both teams. And in a way we should be grateful to Monaco because that was the first club who gave Wenger a real go to become the manager that he still is now. Maybe those who want to moan about anything could moan to Monaco as they could be seen as responsible for giving Wenger the chance to shine. Off you go then.
But we also do have a few players that have played both for Monaco and for Arsenal. Top of that list is of course Thierry Henry. I really don’t need to go into that in detail do I? Our top all time top scorer started his career at Monaco…under Wenger. And we also have seen Emanuel Petit playing for Arsenal and Monaco. Also under Wenger. One player that played for both clubs and is not that popular around our parts was Adebayor. But lets leave him out of this, shall we.
Monaco was a club that had to wait a long time before success finally came their way. In the sixties they won a few things, then fell asleep again to wake up in the eighties again, won a few pots in the nineties, fell asleep again for a while. In total they won the French league 7 times and won the French cup 5 times. But a few years ago the club tasted the sour taste that relegations brings to the mouth. Of course no Arsenal supporters have tasted it (our last time down was 1913) but we’ve been very close a few times. But it happened to Monaco and things went from bad to worse as even in the second division in France they were sitting bottom half way through the league season. But then the money can in.
The French version of Chelsea was born. Money, money, money. That was all that was needed to bring the club back to survive in the second division in French football. And then some more money, money, money, money to make them win the French second division the next season. And since then more of the same that is money, money, money and some more money. And so they find themselves back in the elite of French football and can buy whatever for whatever money they like.
So a despicable way of doing their job one could say. A team I feel no sympathy for whatsoever. Just as the other money teams they can rot in hell from my point of view. But we still have to play them in a few months time.
We will play at home in the first match on February 25 and we will go to the Côte D’Azur to play them at their ground on March 17. Monaco play their home matches at the Stadium Louis II. Named after the ruler when the original stadium was built. It has a small capacity of only 18500 seats in total. But then again for a small country with only 36.000 people you can say that half of their population can fit in the stadium for each match. Compare this with how big a stadium should be for Arsenal if they would fit in half the London population. [4.15 million excluding Middlesex, the spiritual home of Tottenham H – Tony]
But the ground is rather small, has an athletic track around the field, so a big gap between supporters and players. Not a big atmosphere most of the time. It’s not really a “football ground” as we mostly know it in England. As we saw in the earlier article on the draw they get very small crowds, but they have an owner with deep pockets. Pockets as deep as the Mediterranean see is blue. For as long as it lasts of course.
A team that could face FFP troubles in the future, although they are pulling every trick in the book to avoid this.
In general I could say that they were likeable in the past till the money man from Russia came in and spoiled the whole club and bought all kinds of superstars with money they don’t earn. .
You know what? Let’s just beat them for that. Let’s just beat them and go further to the next round.
We’ve never played each other in a competitive match. But Monaco with Falcao came to the Emirates and won 0-1 in the Emirates cup. I sure think that come next February it is time to make up for that loss.
- WSL Round Up – West Ham v Arsenal Sunday 18:45
- Arsenal lost, but it is all part of the drive toward long-term sustainability
- Everton v Arsenal: a happy video, line-up and what the league table will look like after
- Everton v Arsenal: Injuries, points needed for 4th, and Arsenal the first to 100?
- Everton v Arsenal: extraordinary figures seen in the last 6 games table