Monaco 0-2 Arsenal reaction: Per Mertesacker says Gunners were inferior, Aaron Ramsey bemoans first-leg mess

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Arsenal were knocked out of the Champions League this evening following a good performance in Monaco, winning 2-0, but going out on away goals, having lost 3-1 at the Emirates.

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The Gunners dominated the game for long periods and went ahead in the 36th minute when Olivier Giroud slammed the ball into the roof of the net. Arsenal picked up where they left off in the second half, laying siege to the Monaco goal and scoring through a great Aaron Ramsey finish with 12 minutes to go.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for the north London club and centre-half Per Mertesacker was magnanimous in defeat, claiming the better side had gone through.

“The best team went through,” BBC Sport quoted Mertesacker as saying. “Monaco deserved it because they played much better in the first leg. We played well today but it was a massive deficit, and it wasn’t enough tonight. We came here and tried absolutely everything, and when you look at the game we could have scored more than two.”

Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin bemoaned the decision to keep Mesut Ozil on the pitch for the full game, claiming he was poor and should have been subbed.

He said: “I wonder about the decision to leave Mesut Ozil on the pitch in that number 10 position. He was poor, his final ball wasn’t good at all. He had to be brilliant tonight, core to everything. Ozil was very average tonight.”

Having previously been eliminated by teams of a higher prestige in Europe, goalscoring sub Ramsey believed losing the tie had been a missed opportunity.

Ramsey said: “We’ve always gone out to Bayern Munich and Barcelona at this stage but no disrespect to Monaco, we thought we’d have a good opportunity to qualify but we gave ourselves a tough test from the first leg.”

The Gunners are now fighting on two fronts, in the Premier League and the FA Cup, and look a good bet to go all the way in the latter, with a semi-final tie against Championship Reading waiting at Wembley.

Danny Mills questions the lack of a title challenge though. He said: “As an Arsenal fan, is third or fourth and a Champions League last eight place enough for you? Do you not want more?”

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