Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger has described his side’s 3-1 loss against AS Monaco at Emirates Stadium as the “horrible night” in club’s history which left them on the brink of being eliminated from the champions league this season.
Arsenal are set to exit from the Champions League at the same stage for the fifth consecutive time unless a miracle happens on the return leg at Monaco. The match started with lot of expectations on the Gunners but goals from Geoffrey Kondogbia and Dimitar Berbatov made Monaco take control over the game.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave a glimmer of hope by scoring the goal in stoppage time with 91 minutes on the clock but goal from Yannick Ferreira Carrasco made the tie far from winning for Arsenal going into second leg. Arsenal were struck twice on counter attcaks and they have to score atleast thrice on March 17 if they had to avoid elimination.
Wenger made no excuses for his team’s performance by calling it a “horrible night”.
“We had both aspects wrong: we had chances that we did not take and were suicidal defensively because we were open on the second and third goals. We knew at half-time it was important to keep our nerve and with the vast experience we have through this competition, we knew we could not afford this. And so on that front we are guilty”, he added.
He also criticized his defense by saying, “Even at 2-1 how can we with one minute to go just leave the whole half open? It is difficult to understand. We controlled the game quite well, but with their first shot they scored a deflected goal. Everything went for them tonight, but on top of that you see as well why Monaco have done well in the group stage. They are well organised and physically very strong, they did not weaken through the game, but we did.”
Talking about the return leg he said, “The task is massive now and the third goal makes it even more difficult, but we will have a go of course and see what we can do there. It is very, very disappointing, but Champions League is down to performance on the day and when you do not perform at the level that is requested for 90 minutes you are punished as the teams have the quality.”
“We knew before the game they absorb you and hit you on the break, and what happened is exactly that. But congratulations to Monaco, they fought and defended really well and caught us on the break.”
No side has lost a European Cup or Champions League first-leg knockout tie at home by two goals and progressed to the next round since Ajax in 1969.