When Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco raced clear in the 90th minute at the Emirates and slotted an angled drive beyond David Ospina to hand his Monaco side a 3-1 win in the Champions League, many actually saw the final nail being plunged into Arsenal’s campaign coffin.
At odds of 17/4 to qualify for the quarter-finals, bwin.com are certainly from that school of thought.
Monaco are rated as short as 1/7 to book their place in the tournament’s last eight, but after four matches and 390 minutes of football in the competition this week there remains substantial hope of the Gunners making a comeback. Or at least there should be.
For starters half of the four round-of-16 second legs to have been played so far have been a damning advertisement for what can happen if teams slip into neutral gear.
Real Madrid turned in a complacent performance at home to Schalke having secured themselves the comfort of a 2-0 lead in the away leg.
Former Los Blancos striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar bagged twice in a shock 3-4 reverse at the Bernabeu that was a late Iker Casillas save away from being a whole lot worse for the defending champions.
If watching a ruthless winning machine like Real Madrid ease their foot off the accelerator felt like an anomaly, Chelsea’s repeat of the trick a day later certainly didn’t.
The Blues clearly felt their defensive might would be enough to shut Paris-Saint Germain down at Stamford Bridge. When Gary Cahill powered a half-volley beyond Salvatore Sirigu nine minutes from time, Jose Mourinho’s men switched off.
In truth the Premier League champions elect had played the entire game as if it was a warm-up session and their exit at the hands of a PSG side full of moxie was justified.
Elsewhere, the significance of a red card was plain to see in FC Bayern Munchen’s clash with Shakhtar Donetsk.
Pep Guardiola’s men managed just one shot on target and no goals during an 11v11 first leg, but romped to a 7-0 victory after Oleksandr Kucher was dismissed in the third minute.
Ill-discipline has crept into Monaco’s game on occasion this season. The club have received four red cards in all competitions, most recently in the game preceding the trip to north London.
While an early sending off shaped the way FC Bayern’s match panned out, it was an early goal that broke the tension for Porto.
After sharing a 1-1 draw with Basel in Switzerland, Yacine Brahimi scored inside the first 15 minutes to settle the hosts nerves.
They picked off their opponents three more times after the break to seal a cantered victory. Should Arsenal find the net early in France, the quarter finals could start calling.