Search

Exclusive: former Gunners captain confident Arsenal will be too strong for Monaco

07:06 24 February 2015

Graham Rix, Arsenal

Graham Rix, Arsenal

EMPICS Sport

Former Arsenal skipper Graham Rix says Monaco will not be able to handle the Gunners’ firepower when the two sides lock horns in their Champions League last 16 tie.

Arsene Wenger takes on his former club on Wednesday at Emirates Stadium before heading down to the French Riviera on March 17 for the second leg.

But Rix, who spent four years in France playing for Caen and Le Havre, expects Arsenal to be in a commanding position by then.

“My view is quite simple; Monaco will not be able to live with Arsenal when they are in full flight,” said Rix, now 57.

“I would expect us to be in a very good position by the time we head to the Principality.

“When we have everyone fit and Arsene Wenger can put out his best 11 we are quite simply a match for any team in the land – and Monaco will know that.”

But there is one cause for concern for Rix, a 1979 FA Cup winner who skippered Arsenal for three years in the 1980s.

“When we have the ball I love it. We play with such attacking verve and with great speed and technique. But it is when we do not have the ball that I am concerned,” explained the former England winger, now head coach at Wessex Premier League side AFC Portchester.

“We still need to show discipline and shape when we are not in possession – we saw that we can do it when we won 2-0 at Manchester City. That really was a magnificent performance.

“But until we do that consistently I will continue to have concerns. We need to be organised because, at this level, you make mistakes and you will be punished because the better the opposition, the better you have to be.”

Rix does believe there will be extra spice in this tie due to Wenger’s past links with the Ligue 1 club. The Gunners boss managed Monaco from 1987 to 1994, winning both the league title and French Cup during his tenure.

“This will be a big deal for Wenger,” adds Rix. “He is going back to his old club, where he spent a long time and was successful, and you can be sure he will want to go back and put on a good show.

“The fact is Monaco are probably the best draw we could have got. There are some big, big teams in the competition and Monaco, with no disrespect, would have been preferred to the likes of Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.”

Rix also believes the return leg next month will be a comfortable affair for Wenger’s men – and not like his own personal experience of playing at the Stade Louis II.

“Back then they were the best team in the league, with Glenn Hoddle and Mark Hateley both playing for them,” he recalls.

“I was at Caen at the time – this would have been late 1980s – and we worked all week on a plan to combat their many threats.

“We were doubling up, making sure we’d deny them space and be disciplined. So what happens? We go a goal down in just 45 seconds and the whole plan has gone to pot! What is it they say about the best laid plans?

“I don’t see there being a problem for Arsenal, though. Wenger will approach both games with the express purpose of winning home and away.

“That is how I would play it if I had his talented squad, and that is how I am sure he will too. I fully expect us to make the last eight.”

Latest Islington Sports News

Friday, May 27, 2016
Middlesex's Dawid Malan

Dawid Malan celebrated his first game as Middlesex’s T20 skipper with a classy knock of 93 as his side hammered Hampshire by 69 runs.

Friday, May 27, 2016
New Zealand's Brendon McCullum hits out against England in 2015

James Franklin has warned that Middlesex cannot expect his former New Zealand team-mate Brendon McCullum to single-handedly transform their fortunes in one-day cricket.

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Rugby league player Aston Stephenson

There aren’t too many boys who grow up in north London and go to university in rugby union’s heartland – and then become rugby league internationals.

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Middlesex batsman Nick Gubbins

While it may be a cliché, to get a first-class hundred for the first time at Lord’s – the home of cricket – was an absolute dream come true.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
St Aloysius' RC College U14s won the ESFA PlayStation Cup at the Madejski Stadium, Reading

Left-back Prosper Keto headed in the only goal at Reading’s Madejski Stadium as St Aloysius’ Under-14s collected their first national 11-a-side trophy for 16 years.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Summer Eytle-Rock (left) of Activities4U U12s

Summer Eytle-Rock produced another big game for Activities 4U Under-12s as the Islington side defeated Hackney Jedis 26-14 to book their place in the Community Basketball League play-off semi-finals.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Beth Potter (right) is pursued by her British rivals Kate Avery and Jessica Andrews (second from left), who eventually won the race on the Parliament Hill athletics track. Pic: Mark Shearman

Former world record-holder Dave Bedford says Highgate Harriers’ Night of the 10,000m PBs is a “fascinating event” which is “of great value” to the world of athletics.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Hornsey spinner Johnny Fawcett (left) exchanges high fives with Sam Solia

Hornsey spinner Johnny Fawcett blew away the Indian Gymkhana batting with the division’s first six-wicket haul of the season to put his side top of the Division Two table.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe