Arsenal train in London Colney before “super tough” AS Monaco game: PHOTO GALLERY

The Arsenal squad warm up

The Arsenal squad warm up - Credit: Archant

Sports photographers and reporters descended upon London Colney yesterday (Tuesday) to photograph and grill Arsenal players at the Gunners’ training grounds ahead of tonight’s clash against AS Monaco.

Alexis Sanchez takes a shot in training

Alexis Sanchez takes a shot in training - Credit: Archant

And while the team was put through their paces in front of camera-wielding media - albeit from behind a rope barrier - Monaco was stating on its website that the visitors’ fans are upbeat about the clash and “reckon we can qualify”.

Setting the mood ahead of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match being hosted at the Emirates Stadium, the club has been publicising a “countdown to Arsenal” which harks back to the days of Thierry Henry, a “precocious talent at AS Monaco and the prince who became King.”

At London Colney, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger thanked Monaco for giving him the experience he needed to succeed as a manager – his first trophies in management came during his seven years with the French side.

He said: “It was my first chance at a big club.”

In team news, Wenger told reporters that while a question remains over the availability of Harpenden’s Jack Wilshere, “everybody else is available.”

Following recent hard training, Wilshere has been “rested” but Wenger said he doubted that the midfielder would be available against Monaco.

Most Read

However Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has returned to full training.

Wenger has recently warned Arsenal against underestimating Monaco in the last 16 of the Champions League as, according to his team’s website, the Gunners have been knocked out of Europe at this stage of the competition in the previous four seasons following difficult ties against Barcelona, AC Milan and Bayern Munich.

Wenger said: “This is a 50:50 game. The last 16 in recent years has been super tough.”

Meanwhile England forward Danny Welbeck is apparently keen to test himself in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Saying he and fellow Gunners enjoyed playing against different styles of play, from the best sides in Europe, Welbeck added: “Monaco have strong players and it’s going to be a big challenge for us.”

• Arsenal V AS Monaco tonight (25) Emirates Stadium 7.45pm