The Champions League is back!

In addition to our extensive pre-match coverage of the game, we’ve gotten our writers together for a short prediction on how they think the game will pan out.

And if you think we’re just going to throw these predictions out there and then forget about them, fear not.

We’ll be back to take a look at how we did and laughing at the person who got it wrong more than anyone else.

Lee Hurley Win 2-0

We all got ourselves in that much of a tizzy after getting a kind draw that I think we could be in danger of not being overly realistic about this game.

Monaco aren’t Bayern Munich, but they don’t have to be to cause us problems and if we think a kind draw means an easy game then we’re in for a long evening.

Monaco’s defence is sound but they are impacted by injuries in key positions that might just offer enough of a crack for Arsenal to wedge open the door to the last 16 and if there’s one thing Arsenal should know how to do by now, it’s how to break down a stubborn side at the Emirates.

Winning is the aim but a cleansheet will also be important due to the archaic ‘away goals‘ rule.

Prediction: 2-0 Arsenal but I’m not sure if that’s my head or my stupid, naive heart getting in on the game once again.

Helen Trantum Win 3-1

Usually I would anticipate us trying to keep it tight in this home leg, given that in recent years our first leg performances have often crippled our chances of progression and the danger of conceding away goals. It’s also an approach that served us well on our most successful foray in 2006.

However, with Monaco’s notoriously tight defence missing a number of players and Arsenal in relatively decent attacking form, a slightly more attacking approach might be called for here.

My gut feel is that we’ll probably start relatively conservatively, at least in terms of numbers of bodies committed forward, but still maintain a high tempo with a few to committing more in the second half if safe to do so. Certainly we have the quality up front to pick a weakened Monaco defence off without overcommitting numbers.

I fancy Arsenal to put our last 16 hoodoo to bed, but I also think it will be a tougher test than many are forecasting. They may not be a Bayern or a Real Madrid going forward, but they have a very solid defence – I certainly don’t think we’ll be home and hosed after this first leg.

Our attack should prove too good with Monaco’s injury problems, but they also have the potential to get a precious away goal to keep us on our toes ahead of the return leg.

Prediction:  3-1 and the tie far from over.

Stephen Bradley Win 1-0

This is going to be one of those nervy, frustrating nights where we have massive amounts of possession without too many clear cut chances.

Monaco are going to sit back and wait for us to screw up and the longer the game stays 0-0, the more frustrated the crowd will be, as they know, as much as the team, that drawing Monaco in the first place is a piece of luck that Arsenal have to capitalise on.

If we get an early goal, that might just be enough to settle everyone down. I can’t see it though.

Prediction: I fear a 1-0 lead is the best we can hope for to take with us into the second leg.

Paul Williams Win 3-1

I think it’s interesting to see that everyone has gone for Arsenal to win one or two nil in a tight game here (obviously, Helen is yet to weigh in with her chipper 4-0 prediction).

Equally obviously, it’s the last 16 of the Champions League, so the game will not be an easy one.

However, Arsenal’s home record since moving around the corner in 2006 is formidable. I think I’m right in saying that only Schalke, Dortmund and Bayern Munich have returned to the continent having tasted victory.

Obviously, we’re a tough nut to crack on our own patch and with the likes of Ozil and Cazorla sparkling at the minute and the options available to the manager.

Prediction: I fully expect us to start fast and win this game reasonably comfortably. 3-1.

Sylvain Jamet Win 1-0

With the first leg being played at home it is important not to concede as the away goal rule come into action.

We know that AS Monaco has a very good defensive record in the competition, so we can expect a tight and very tactical game.

It will probably be boring to watch in terms of entertainment but extremely rich on technical-tactical side of things.

I expect the Arsenal to play cautiously, avoiding being open at the back and getting caught in transition as  has happened way too often in the past.

Prediction:  Arsenal 1-0

Lewis Ambrose Win 2-0

There’s certainly something concerning about playing a team who have only conceded just one in their last 12.

Before that they only conceded one in the entire group stage.

That said, they’re without at least half of their first choice defence, as well as holding midfielders Bakayoko and Toulalan.

They’ll try to frustrate but we’ve more than enough to break them down.

Prediction: A win to nil would be massive to take into the away leg. No away goal!

Nia Griffiths Win 2-0

Although results have mostly been going our way in recent months, our overall performances during these matches have been considerably less consistent.

This weekend we narrowly got away with all three points against midtable Crystal Palace in what was a sloppy display and I’m sure Monaco manager Leonardo Jardin will be well aware of this.

Monaco are currently sitting fourth in the Ligue 1 table and, as much as we’re enjoying a good run of results, they’ll know if they can come to the Emirates, keep us out and get a draw, it’ll be a good result for them to take back to theirs.

Prediction: I do think we’ll get the win and I’ll throw caution to the wind and say it should be a relatively easy 2-0 (gulp).

Sean Ferguson Win 2-0

Hooray! The Champions League is back!

I’m really looking forward to this game and I’m unusually confident about it.

With Ozil, Cazorla and Giroud all in good form and Monaco missing a few key players I can see us bagging a couple of goals, it’ll just depend how we do at the back.

We’ve been a bit hit-and-miss at the back in recent games, looking solid for the majority of the game but then a few nerves will always make for an uncomfortable period at some point.

Here’s hoping we have too much going forward so that they have very little time to test our back line.

As we’re starting to enter quite a busy period, I’ve been wondering when Arsene will start to rotate, but I can’t see it being this game though so I’d expect as strong a line up as we could put out with the only question mark over who starts between Welbeck and Theo.

In a game like this I’d like to see Theo start as defenders in Europe seem to be unable to cope with his pace and we should be looking to exploit this in the home leg.

Prediction: I’m going to go for 2-0 to Arsenal.

Mark Fine Win 2-0

Monaco aren’t a bad team defensively – in fact that’s what’s keeping them afloat right now. They counter their inability to score with striving to achieve clean sheets and taking what the other side gives them.

So the key for us is to score first and fast, that will pull them out of ‘parked bus mode’ for the rest of the game.

If we don’t take the bait and move ten men forward we should be able to deal with any counter they offer.

Prediction: Arsenal should dominate possession in this one by something in the order of 75% and win 2-0.

Anita Sambol Win 1-0

What worries me the most here is how we’ll break Monaco’s defence.

It is a fact they have conceded the fewest goals in the competition, and they don’t concede many in league either.

They don’t score a lot, so I think we’ll get a clean sheet, but up front it’s gonna take a good day from our strikers and/or midfielders.

Prediction: I will go for a boring 1-0, probably early on in the match or 2nd half, coming out fast and determined, scoring before they’re settled in.

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