Danny Welbeck has challenged Arsenal to make home advantage count in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash against Monaco on Tuesday.
The Gunners will defend a formidable European record at the Emirates Stadium, where they were unbeaten in the group stages - although allowing Anderlecht to fight back from 3-0 down and earn a draw proved costly as Arsene Wenger’s side finished runners-up to Borussia Dortmund on goal difference.
Monaco may have scored only four Champions League goals this season, but still qualified as winners of Group C ahead of Bayer Leverkusen.
Welbeck sees the first leg as key to Arsenal’s hopes of progressing through to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2009/10.
“Any team you get in the Champions League will be a difficult opponent and it will be no different with Monaco. They have strong players and it’s going to be a big challenge for us over the two legs,” Welbeck told Arsenal Media.
“We play home at first, and it’s a good opportunity for us to show our strengths in front of our fans, but we just need to prepare well, as it’s going to be two difficult matches.
“At this level every match you play is going to be a challenge, but all players enjoy it.
“We just need to be strong on the day and play to our strengths. We have players here and a great spirit in the squad, so we are looking forward to the challenge of this season’s Champions League.”