Arsenal To Unleash Young Guns On Monaco
Arsenal v Monaco
Arsenal take on French super power Monaco in the second set of games of the Emirates’ Cup. Arsene Wenger will want a victory against his old side ahead of the build up to the new season.
Arsenal absolutely cruised past a hapless, out-of-sorts looking Benfica side still seemingly struggling to come to terms with the loss of a number of their starring players from last season: Markovic and Garay the most notable departures.
With Benfica looking so poor throughout pre-season, it’s therefore hard to gauge just how good that Arsenal victory was but a 5-1 win against a European side with the pedigree of Benfica is hard to ignore.
Arsenal are absolutely brimming with skill and pace, though, and the addition of Alexis Sanchez adds sublimely to Arsene Wenger’s options going forward.
The Chilean superstar will provide serious cutting edge to an attack already seen as one of the most complete in Europe and in his brief cameo in yesterday’s game, gave a glimpse of what he’ll provide.
Yaya Sanogo, the precocious young French forward helped himself to four goals yesterday in a scintillating performance and could well add to his tally today.
Monaco, for all the billions at their disposal, looked slightly shoddy against Valencia in the opening game and really should have been beaten only for the Spaniards profligacy in front of goal.
A late strike from Lucas Ocampos nicked a point, though, and with the reintroduction of Colombian hitman, Falcao, after six months out injured, there are plenty of goals in this side.
Their defence still remains a bit of a weak spot with their main centre-half, Ricardo Carvalho well past his best. They were wide open a number of times yesterday and pace on the counter could be a huge weapon against this side.
Whatever side Arsene Wenger chooses to go with will be packed full of quality. The Arsenal boss has a fearsome squad at his disposal when everyone is fit. A number of senior players made their entrance after about 60 minutes yesterday so the likes of Jack Wilshere, Arteta and Alexis could all play a part from the start today.
Along with them, a number of youngsters impressed, most notably Yaya Sanogo and Hector Bellerin. They will be looking for more game-time ahead of this season’s big kick-off.
Monaco do have strength in depth, too, albeit not the same quality Arsenal possess. Falcao, as mentioned above, made his first appearance after a serious injury against Valencia yesterday in a 30 minute cameo off the bench and might not be risked again in such a short period of time.
HEAD TO HEAD
Arsenal and Monaco have met once before in a 1-1 draw back in 1999 friendly but have never met in a competitive game.
Normally this would be a particularly tight game to call but I’m going to favour Arsenal in this particular game. They are a couple of week’s behind Monaco in terms of pre-season fitness but the quality they possess in terms of squad depth is frightening and that’s a factor that shouldn’t be underestimated.
Late on in the game, when substitutions are being made, Arsenal will be able to bring on like for like quality whilst Monaco’s slightly diminishes.
The home factor will also play a part. The Emirates will be packed come kick-off eager to see more of their new boy, Alexis Sanchez so the atmosphere should be electric.
I’d definitely advise the home win at 7/10 but as juicier odds of 15/8, over 3.5 goals looks a tidy investment. Arsenal gave up plenty of goal chances themselves against Benfica and Monaco should get one, at least.