Arsene Wenger has slammed Arsenal’s performance against Monaco as suicidal as the Ligue 1 outfit stormed to a much deserved 3-1 victory at the Emirates.
The visitors took the lead four minutes before half time thanks to Geoffrey Kondogbia’s deflected effort and doubled their advantage through former Sp*rs striker Dimitar Berbatov on 53 minutes. The Gunners laboured in reply squandering a series of chances before substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain netted on 90 minutes. The England international’s goal looked to have handed the home side a lifeline only for Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco to punish further wayward defending with the last kick of the game.
Reflecting on the nightmare that unfolded before him, Wenger told press: “Congratulations to Monaco, they had a perfect result and played the game they wanted to play.
“On our side, I believe that we missed the chances and we were a bit suicidal defensively. We were not at the level defensively and we were a bit unlucky as well because the first goal is deflected. On the second and the third goal we were suicidal.
“We had the luck to come back to 2-1 but not the right to give away a goal the way we did because that makes our task extremely difficult in the second leg. It looks like we have lost our nerve and our rationality on the pitch. The heart took over the head and at that level it doesn’t work.
“Mentally we were not ready or sharp enough to get into this game. We paid for it. In the first 20 minutes there was enough room to win the game. Monaco are a team who are strong physically with a good physical density and we missed the chances. If you look at the number of chances we missed, at that level you cannot afford that.”
Arsenal had entered the two-leg tie as favourites, but now need a miracle when they visit the Stade Louis II on 17 March as they look to qualify for the quarter-finals for the first time since 2010.
“We have a smaller chance,” continued Wenger when asked about the mountain his side have to climb. “But no matter how big the chance is we will go for it. We need to recover from this disappointment and prepare for the next game.”