Five talking points from Arsenal v Monaco

AS Monaco FC's discipline and control were in sharp contrast to the way Arsenal FC were picked apart as the French side's 3-1 win put them in charge of the last-16 tie.

Alexis Sánchez stands dejected as Monaco celebrate
Alexis Sánchez stands dejected as Monaco celebrate ©Getty Images

1 Fabinho rose to the challenge
Winning at Arsenal FC is an achievement at any time in the UEFA Champions League; for AS Monaco FC to do so with a raft of injuries and without suspended captain Jérémy Toulalan was exceptional. The noise of their celebrations in the dressing room afterwards said how much this meant to them, and their performance was epitomised by UEFA man of the match Fabinho, who had switched from right-back to central midfield to deputise for Toulalan.

In contrast to Arsenal, Fabinho was able to hold the space in front of the back four and constantly disrupt his opponents' moves. Fabinho was quick to point out, though, that there is plenty of work still to do. "We celebrated a lot but we know there is another match to come, another 90 minutes – so we have to continue as Arsenal are a big team. It will be a difficult match." 

2 Déjà vu for Arsenal
There was a sense of déjà vu about Arsenal's collapse. Against RSC Anderlecht on matchday four the Gunners had surrendered a 3-0 lead in the second half. They did not have the advantage this time and the goals conceded could have a far greater impact. In both games the opposition exploited with ease the gaps when Arsenal attacks broke down, and here Dimitar Berbatov and Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco were the beneficiaries with the second and third goals.

Arsenal's form has picked up since the introduction of Francis Coquelin in the holding role – so much so that this was just their third defeat in 14 matches – but this looked like a return to the defensively fragile side from the start of the campaign.

Fabinho delight at Monaco away goals
Fabinho delight at Monaco away goals

3 Berbatov thrives on return
By comparison, Monaco were a model of discipline and control, confident and tidy in possession, keeping their passes simple and playing with impressive calm as exemplified by Berbatov and João Moutinho – who were both happy to hold the ball and wait for their chances. Berbatov's strike was crucial, the 34-year-old former Tottenham Hotspur FC forward returning to the home of his old rivals to rub salt into wounds.

4 Gunners need target practice
Arsenal enjoyed more possession (55% to 45%), and carved out more opportunities (14 to Monaco's 10), yet ultimately they were beaten by the more clinical team. Of Monaco's ten shots at goal, seven were on target and three went in – whereas Arsenal mustered just four shots on target from 14 attempts.

Olivier Giroud drew the greatest groan from the crowd when he skied over after Danijel Subašić had parried Alexis Sánchez's effort into his path. Monaco also rode their luck, Geoffrey Kondogbia scoring via a deflection from Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck blocking Theo Walcott's goalbound drive – but they earned it.

Welbeck: First goal was crucial
Welbeck: First goal was crucial

5 What next?
For the third season in a row, Arsenal have lost the first leg at home in the round of 16. If Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's late goal appeared to have given the Gunners a lifeline, Ferreira-Carrasco's swift reply cancelled that out.

Arsenal still have the firepower to cause Monaco problems at the Stade Louis II, yet it is hard to see Leonardo Jardim's side – who have shipped only two goals in seven games so far in the competition – letting in three in one. "We had the chances but we didn't take them and we were suicidal defensively," Arsène Wenger said. "It is very, very disappointing."

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