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Gunners look to mission in Monaco with confidence

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Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates scoring the opening goal against West Ham Utd

Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates scoring the opening goal against West Ham Utd

Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal celebrates scoring his team's second goal

Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal celebrates scoring his team's second goal

Arsenal's midfielder Danny Welbeck (R) vies with West Ham United's defender Aaron Cresswell

Arsenal's midfielder Danny Welbeck (R) vies with West Ham United's defender Aaron Cresswell

AFP/Getty Images

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey (4th L) scores his goal past West Ham United's goalkeeper Adrian

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey (4th L) scores his goal past West Ham United's goalkeeper Adrian

AFP/Getty Images

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Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates scoring the opening goal against West Ham Utd

Olivier Giroud described football as "an everlasting new beginning" on Saturday but, if there was ever one ending that he must yearn to script, it is surely Arsenal's Champions League tie against Monaco.

"We can go there and create something special," claimed Arsene Wenger after his side's 3-0 win against West Ham United that mirrors the scoreline the Gunners now need on the Cote d'Azur tomorrow following their 3-1 defeat in the first leg at the Emirates.

History suggests that Arsenal will need something of a fairytale as no club has overcome an equivalent first-leg deficit in Champions League history but there are reasons for hope.

Arsenal have now won 19 of their past 24 matches and, after reaching the FA Cup semi-finals, have ended the week within a point of Manchester City in the Premier League.

For Giroud, it is now 11 goals in 16 games. But Wenger says he was never concerned for the resilience of a player who was playing in the lower divisions of the French league just five years ago.

"There are always tough moments," said Giroud. "I know when I play well or not. I think we learned from our mistakes and we will go to Monaco with a lot of confidence."

Kamikaze

Wenger has since sat down and analysed those mistakes with the players. He believes that kamikaze attacking was Arsenal's problem rather than complacency.

It might sound like straw-clutching but, from their recent experience in the Champions League of almost overturning big first-leg deficits, Arsenal know that Monaco will be unsure how to approach tomorrow's game. Wenger sought to underline that psychological dilemma when asked if the pressure would be on his old club.

"They've already won it, they can still lose it," he said. Team selection will clearly be vital and, after Aaron Ramsey scored for the first time in 2015, Wenger must decide whether to recall Santi Cazorla.

Hammers' boss Sam Allardyce was sufficiently upset on Saturday to pass his post-match media duties to assistant Neil McDonald. The lack of clarity over Allardyce's future cannot be helping as the club seek to recover some semblance of momentum. "It would be nice for that [Allardyce's contract] to be sorted wouldn't it, yes," said McDonald.

"But the manager has stated it will be sorted at the end of the season. Sam was angry the way we conceded the two goals towards the end. Our progression is trying to get into the top eight." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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