Football

Dimitar Berbatov sets sights on Arsenal upset with AS Monaco

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Dimitar Berbatov is well aware of the size of the task facing his AS Monaco side as they prepare to take on Arsenal in their Champions League last 16 first leg clash at the Emirates, but he's still hopeful of causing a European upset tonight.

The former Manchester United striker addressed the gathered media in north London on Tuesday, during which time he spoke about the Ligue 1 club's desire to progress to the quarter-final stage.

Despite the relative inexperience of Leonardo Jardim's side, Berbatov is hoping his own expertise coaxed from his time playing in England's top-flight will help the French outfit be better prepared for the challenge they face against the Gunners on Wednesday evening.

"We know it is going to be a difficult game," the Bulgarian was quoted saying by Sky Sports. "We will be the underdogs, but we came for a good result, have prepared well and hopefully we can achieve it.

"I spent a couple of years here and have told my team-mates this will be a tough game. Being back here is great for me, playing in this stadium. I have had some good moments here, scored a couple of goals, and also had some bad moments. 

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"It is nothing new to me. I know the games, I watch them on TV, Arsenal are playing very well. They are a team who work a lot of passes, try to play the combinations, football the way it should be played. They play on the counter with quick players and very technical.

"Hopefully we can do what we came here to do," - Dimitar Berbatov

"Maybe this will be new for some of my team-mates, but I have explained to them that it will be difficult, so they need to do their homework, and our coach will prepare us for the game. Hopefully we can do what we came here to do."

Monaco will be buoyed by Friday's 1-0 victory away at Nice, extending their impressive run of results which has seen them lose just one of their last 17 games in all competitions.

Arsenal will present a much stiffer test than the Principality are perhaps used to facing, but they have reason to have confidence in their own capabilities when they run out against Arsene Wenger's side this evening.

Head-to-head record

The 1-0 win against the Gunners in the Emirates Cup back in August will provide another reason for the visitors to be optimistic, although the line-ups will be notably different from that pre-season friendly.

It was Radamel Falcao who notched the only goal of that game last summer, as he continued his rehabilitation from a serious anterior cruciate ligament injury before moving on loan to Manchester United for the 2014/15 campaign.

Unpredictable?

Tonight's clash will be Monaco's first competitive meeting with Arsenal, who are in fine form themselves having won eight of their last nine games, including Saturday's 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

They also boast an unenviable record of losing only two of their 20 competitive meetings with French sides, while Monaco have failed to win five of their ten games against English teams.

Arsenal fans: How do you think Arsene Wenger's side will get on against AS Monaco this evening? Should the Ligue 1 outfit be underestimated - or are you anticipating a difficult game? Share your thoughts below...

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Topics:
Football
Arsenal
AS Monaco
UEFA Champions League
Dimitar Berbatov

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