Our pre-season preparations come to a close on Wednesday evening when we do battle with Monaco for the Emirates Cup.
As well as a chance to pay tribute to Arsene Wenger who managed both opponents with distinction, it’ll also be the last chance Mikel Arteta gets to tinker with his team ahead of competitive action on Sunday when we face Manchester City in the Community Shield.
The side from the principality will provide a stern test going into that encounter at Wembley, and before our clash at Emirates Stadium (how to watch online), here is everything you need to know about Monaco:
This will be the club’s 99th season in existence, having been formed in November 1924. They are one of French football’s most successful teams, having won eight league titles, five French Cups and a League Cup.
It took them until 1953 to reach the top-flight, and seven years later came their first piece of silverware since turning professional in 1933 in the form of the French Cup. One year later came their first league championship, and a double arrived in 1963 before a period of decline saw them yoyo between the top two tiers.
However by the 1980s they had returned to prominence, and Wenger’s arrival as manager brought them further success as they won the league title in his first season in charge in 1988, as well as a French Cup three years later (find out more about Arsene's time in charge). He also took them to their first European final but they lost out on the 1992 European Cup Winners Cup to Werder Bremen.
Financial problems and boardroom changes destabilised the club at the turn of the millennium, and despite a run to the Champions League final in 2003/04, they suffered relegation in 2011. However, a takeover by Dmitry Rybolovlev helped the club recover and by 2017 they won their eighth and last league title, spearheaded by the goals of academy product Kylian Mbappe.
Having played in both the Champions League and Europa League last season courtesy of a third-place finish in 2021/22, missing out on European football completely means last term was a huge disappointment for Monaco after they ended the campaign in sixth spot.
A slow start saw them win just one of their first five league games; a hangover from exiting the Champions League at the hands of PSV Eindhoven in the final qualifying round. However, a run of 14 wins from their next 19 games either side of the new year saw them hit third spot in February, when a 3-1 win against PSG ignited slim hopes of a title challenge.
However, a miserable run of four wins from their final 14 games saw them slip down the table, and exit the Europa League at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen in the knockout play-off round. That poor form saw head coach Philippe Clement dismissed at the end of the campaign.
Austrian Adi Hutter was installed as Clement’s successor last month, who made his name in his homeland by winning the domestic double with Red Bull Salzburg in 2014/15 - a side he represented for seven years as a player. He also had a successful stint in charge of Young Boys where he won the Swiss league before moving into German football with Eintracht Frankfurt.
There he guided them to the Europa League semi-finals where they were beaten by Chelsea to land him Coach of the Year accolades, and after three seasons he joined Borussia Monchengladbach. However he lasted just a year there before sitting out the last 12 months before being offered the Monaco job.
Monaco are captained by veteran French striker and club legend Wissam Ben Yedder, who continues to be their main goal threat having netted 98 times in 168 games in his four seasons at the club, finishing last season with 25 to his name in all competitions to top their goalscoring charts.
Swiss striker Breel Embolo ended his first season with the club last term with 14 strikes, with former Liverpool striker Takumi Minamino and German international Kevin Volland also options up front.
Russian international midfielder Aleksandr Golovin regularly chips in with goals, and he is joined in the middle of the park by Youssouf Fofana, who came on during extra-time of France’s World Cup final defeat to Argentina back in December.
Other players of note are centre-back Guillermo Maripan who is a Chilean international with an eye for a goal, Senegalese winger Krepin Diatta was named the best young player at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, and Gelson Martins has won 21 caps for Portugal.
The summer so far
Just one major signing has been secured so far this summer, with goalkeeper Philipp Koln arriving from Red Bull Salzburg who was a member of Switzerland’s 2022 World Cup squad, however they are reportedly close to agreeing a deal to bring Southampton centre-back Mohammed Salisu to the club.
That could be as a replacement for Chelsea-bound Axel Disasi, with the French international set to move to Stamford Bridge for around £38.5 million.
On the pitch, they have recorded two wins already on English soil, beating Real Betis 3-1 at St George’s Park, and then recording a 2-0 win against Leeds United in York. Since then they have beaten Bologna 3-2 before losing to Genoa 1-0 on Saturday.
The previous meetings
We last faced Monaco back in March 2015 in the Champions League round of 16, when we fell to a 3-1 home loss before recording a 2-0 win at the Stade Louis II thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey, but ultimately we exited the competition on the away goals rule.
It is the second time we have met in the Emirates Cup, with the previous encounter coming at the start of that same season nine years ago. That afternoon, Radamel Falcao’s only goal of the game secured the win for the visitors to deny us the trophy.
How to watch
All the action from Emirates Stadium will be streamed live on Arsenal.com and our official app, which kicks off at 6pm UK time.
All this can be viewed on desktop, mobile devices or the app by buying a Match Pass for just £4.99 - but only if you purchase before the day of the game, when the price rises to £6.99.
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