You could hear the cheers from the Emirates all the way down to Timbuktu as Arsenal have been drawn with Monaco. This is no slight on Monaco who are a decent side in their own right and will give Arsenal a run for their money but rather an admission of relief. For several years Arsenal have been punished for finishing second in their group with ties against Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Today, despite finishing second, they have a rather winnable fixture.
Names like Dimitar Berbatov, Ricardo Carvalho, Jeremy Toulalan and Joao Moutinho will ring a bell to fans of the English game, but the first two are past it, whilst the latter two are hardly the most threatening going forward - in other words Arsenal's biggest weakness, their defence, won't be ruthlessly exposed.
Further proof of Monaco's paucity in attack lies in the 22 goals they have scored in 18 Ligue 1 games - barely over 1 goal a game. Likewise, they only scored four goals in six Champions League games. Monaco's strength is in defence; they have only conceded 1 goal in the Champions League this season. Kondogbia and Toulalan in particular are tough customers in midfield and Carvalho is still as wily as ever.
In order to qualify Arsenal will need to be at their sumptuous best for periods of the two games at the very least - something they have not done with consistency this season. However, given Arsenal will expect to have the ball for large periods of time, they should have enough chances to do so.
On paper, with names like Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey and Per Mertesacker, Arsenal should be in the second tier but time and time again they have disappointed and flattered to deceive whilst the aforementioned teams have either dominated their own domestic scene or have had long meaningful runs in Europe.
Should Arsenal be able to add to their team and cover their weaknesses, with a bit of luck they can go far. Otherwise, the quarter finals will be the extent of their European run.