The Group Stage of the 2016/2017 UEFA Champions league begins today and what a way to start this year’s competition. We travel to Paris to take on Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes in what happens to be a clash between the two favourite teams likely to make it to the round of 16 in Group A.
PSG’s league form so far this seasaon has been a far cry to the form with which they won the Ligue 1 last season. They haven’t really find the frictionless winning momentum under their new manager, Unai Emery. The Spaniard was hired for the sole purpose of delivering the Champions League which the former manager, Laurent Blanc could not deliver. To say this is a daunting task is an understatement. Whether he achieves this objective remains to be seen -the Champions League is not a child’s play.
Emery comes into this game against Arsenal on the back of three consecutive European successes with Sevilla (though in the Europa League). This should serve as a big boost for the Spaniard as he faces an Arsenal side that has been consistent in the competition in the last two decades under Veteran manager Arsene Wenger.
Worthy of note is the fact that these two teams have little or no history to make reference to as the last and only time they’ve met in a competitive game was in 1994 and it ended in a home draw and away loss for the French side.
Player(s) to Watch
Di Maria is well known to the Arsenal side and could prove to be a big threat in the game with his trickery and quick feet. Edison Cavani also should not be written off even though the Uruguayan can be unreliable and inconsistent; nothing still can be taken away from him as he could be a torn in the flesh of any team on his day. As Arsene Wenger mentioned, PSG have lost more than a player in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and he will be sorely missed.
Tactics and Possible Line-up
Unai Emery favours a 4-3-3 formation with the midfield being the team’s strongest point. New signing Thomas Meunier will likely come in for injured Serge Aurier at right back while Thiago Silva is expected to be back in the mix with Maxwell also replacing injured Layvin Kurzawa.