After a rather fortuitous slim win against Southampton over the weekend, the Gunners kick off this season’s UEFA Champions League Campaign away at Paris St. Germain on Tuesday. This is a trophy that has eluded us and the bad memories of the 2005 final loss to Barcelona will come to the fore as we make our first UCL trip to Paris since then.
- Arsenal have never met PSG in the UEFA champions League. The last time we played the Parisians in a UEFA competition was in 1994 when we defeated them in the Quarter Finals on our way to winning the Cup Winners Cup.
- Arsenal have a splendid record against French teams coming out victorious in the last 7 games against them. However, Arsenal have lost their last 2 champions league opening games.
- PSG have not kept a clean sheet since beating Metz 3-0 on Aug. 21 while Arsenal have already shipped six goals in just four Premier League outings. With this in mind there could be goals in Paris.
WHO’S IN AND WHO’S OUT?
Aaron Ramsey will face a late fitness test and Laurent Koscielny is a doubt with a swollen eye after a kick on Saturday (even though he participated in today’s training session). If he doesn’t make it, Rob Holding will partner Shkodran Mustafi in central defence. Gabriel is back in the squad as he also participated in today’s training session but the game might come in to early for him. Mertesacker, Jenkinsion and Welbeck remain long term absentees.
Granit Xhaka will likely return to partner Santi Cazorla in midfield behind Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez should replace Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain and Lucas Perez respectively.
PSG have no known injury worries but have been poor this season losing 2 of their last 3 games. Edinson Cavani has failed to properly fill the boots of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and key players like Angel Di Maria are off form. However, the experience of captain Thiago Silva is still evident and Marco Verratti remain a colossus in midfield. Hatem Ben Arfa looks re-invigorated too. Lucas Moura can be dangerous.
We look the better team on current form but we have a recent history of starting poorly in this competition. I think starting away will suit us. We have to defend properly on the flanks as PSG largely depend on Di Maria and Lucas Moura for creativity. Xhaka has to be disciplined at defensive midfield and not leave our central defence exposed to direct runs from the likes of Di Maria and Blaise Matuidi.
I believe we can get at least a point from this game but I wont be surprised if we come away with all 3 points.
I predict a 1-2 win for Arsenal.