PSG v Arsenal: Champions League PREVIEW

Arsenal Captain Laurent Koscielny is expected to be fit for Tuesday’s opening group A game against Paris St-Germain.

The French centre back picked up a minor facial injury at the end of Arsenal’s win over Southampton but trained without complications on Monday.

 

Arsene Wenger is more than likely going to put out a fresh attacking line up to the one from the Saints win.  Oliver Giroud, Alexis Sanchez and Alex Iwobi should come in for Lucas Perez, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.  Which would make sense as none of them particularly impressed last time out at the Emirates.

Other than that, it would be no surprise to see Granit Xhaka on the team sheet.  Whether it’s Mohammed Elneny, Francis Coquelin or Santi Cazorla, will be down to the managers preference.  However considering it’s a tough game away, I’d suspect the latter will be on the bench.

Arsenal are coming off the back of two wins in the Premier League despite a slow start.  The game against Southampton saw the Gunners fortunate to take the three points.  A much better showing will be needed if they are to take anything from the game in the Parc des Princes.

 

PSG at this moment in time are somewhat of an unknown quantity.  The owners were not happy with their progression in the Champions League so gone is manager Laurent Blanc.

In the hot seat is Unai Emery, the Spanish coach fresh from winning the Europa League with Sevilla for the third consecutive season.  The sort of track record in Europe Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the PSG president is after.

PSG have not started the Ligue 1 as well as they have in recent seasons.  They have also lost two big players in David Luiz to Chelsea and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Manchester United.

However they still have an abundance of talent, particularly in midfield and attack.  They drew 1-1 at home at the weekend, but like Arsenal, will be fielding a stronger team in this clash.  Edison Cavani and Angel Di Maria will be two names restored who the Paris outfit will be looking to for inspiration.

 

In recent seasons PSG have typically got to the latter stages but found the quarter finals the stumbling block.  So only slightly better than Arsenal who seem to find the second phase first knock out tie as good as it gets.

Wenger’s men were beaten in 3 out of 4 away ties last season and PSG are not in the greatest of forms having lost their last two which makes it an interesting match up.  Though with this competition clearly the priority for the Parisian club, you can’t read too much into their league form and they will be highly motivated.

The bookies have PSG as clear favourites however I feel Wenger will fancy getting a result here in his home nation.  The North London side have proved they can spring a surprise in Europe with recent away wins in the Allianz Arena and the Westfalenstadion most memorable.

 

The last time these two sides met at this ground was in 1994.  It was the semi-final of the Cup Winner’s Cup and it finished 1-1.  Arsenal went through courtesy of a 1-0 win at Highbury and of course went on to lift the trophy.

I think both sides will score and possibly a repeat score of that 1994 tie.  With Sanchez back and Giroud, who scored a hat-trick last season in Europe, the Gunners will take something here.  Neither side will want to start with a loss. But then again both sides should play without too much caution as Group A does appear to be between these two sides, as to who finishes first and second.

Predicted Result: 1-1

 

 

 

 

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