The kings of disappointments kept up with tradition, as Arsenal blew it at home in the first leg of their Champions League knockout stage clash, losing 3-1 to Monaco, while Leverkusen gained a small advantage thanks to a 1-0 win over favorites Atletico Madrid.
Arsenal looked bad on about every aspect against a counter attacking Monaco side. Sure, the French team had a little bit of luck when they took the lead in the 38th minute through Geoffrey Kondogbia, his shot clipping Per Mertesacker and changing direction, but there was nothing accidental about Dimitar Berbatov giving them a 2-0 lead early in the second half.
In between the short period of hope for Arsenal and the many moments of despair? Mostly Olivier Giroud missing awkwardly, although he wasn’t alone in it.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain brought back hope to Arsenal with a fantastic goal in injury time, but it was his turnover that allowed Monaco one last counter attack to expose just how slow the Arsenal defense is, resulting in a fantastic finish by Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco, finding the small space between David Ospina’s outstretched arm and the post, using it to score.
A minute later it was all over. Arsene Wenger left the pitch to a chorus of jeers and boos, with Monaco providing one of the bigger upsets in recent Champions League history, gaining a huge, surprising advantage heading into the second leg.
In Germany, Leverkusen enjoyed a nice combination between Karim Bellarabi with creativity and vision and Hakan Calhanoglu, scoring the only goal of the match in the 57th minute.
A Fernando Torres goal was disallowed and Tiago eventually got sent off with a second yellow card, but overall this wasn’t the best of matches, leaving everything quite open for the second leg in this encounter.