A disappointing draw for both sides as Arsenal’s hopes to finish top of their group in the Champions League dwindle. The Gunners are not in their best form and capitalized on PSG’s misfortune several times. Yet, as both teams being favored to win their final games, PSG have the home advantage for their match against Ludogorets and would secure the top spot with a win.
Location : Emirates Stadium, London
Referee : Felix Brych (German)
2 - 2
STARTING LINE UP
Arsene Wenger had tough decisions to make as no one has really been shining up front in their past few 1-all draws. Giroud got the start up front after coming off the bench to score his late equalizer against Man United last Saturday, but failed to contribute much Tuesday night other than slotting home a penalty in the closing seconds of the first half.
The biggest complaint Arsenal fans had with the starting lineup was the absence of Granit Xhaka. With a large pricetag, Xhaka came to Arsenal last summer but hasn’t had many starts. Wenger instead opted for Aaron Ramsey to play next to Coquelin, closer to the Welshman’s preferred central role. With Bellerin being out due to an injury for the next month, Carl Jenkinson is just about the only option the Gunners have in right back.
Wenger put in his attacking subs with 10 minutes left after PSG equalized in the 77th minute. You could say it was too little too late, but Arsenal’s performance as a whole was too little.
STARTING LINE UP
Paris Saint-Germain’s starting XI was raided by recent injuries taking out Di Maria, Pastore, and Rabiot. Their game play was lightly affected by these loses as most of their team carried their weight. Grzegorz Krychowiak didn’t have a great game and struggled to hold possession while inviting pressure on his team.
Early in the week, right back Serge Aurier was prevented from entering the UK due to an ongoing court case. Thomas Meunier was an excellent selection to take his place.
Other than securing the opening goal, Edison Cavani had a similar performance to his previous game against Arsenal, wasting multiple chances and failing to win the game for PSG. In the closing minutes of the match he was one on one with Ospina and lobbed the ball into the goalkeeper’s hands, then had a header from six yards out go wide of the goal in the 82nd minute.
Arenal were easily out played for the majority of the first half and went down early after Cavani took the lead for PSG. The Gunners were lucky to go into the locker rooms at halftime tied at one all after receiving a controversial penalty where Alexis Sanchez seemed to be tripped inside the box which Olivier Giroud converted from the spot.
PSG were on their heals for the start of the second half as Arsenal started to apply pressure. Marquinhoes, PSG defender, did his best to clear a shot from Aaron Ramsey, but managed to send it directly into Verratti where the ball ricocheted off him and ended up in the back of the PSG net. After this, PSG had several chances to score before Lucas headed in a corner which deflected off of Alex Iwobi. The French side continued to waste a handful of chances to grab the winning goal.
Possibly the most interesting thing to come from the game were the lack of shots on target. For the first time since a match between Rangers v Unirea in 2009, were there more goals in a Champions League match than shots on target. Both sides only managed to direct one shot on goal each.
Man Of The Match
Neither side had any stand out players, but after a powerful free kick that rattled off the crossbar and his leveler to tie the match up for PSG, the MotM has to go to Lucas Moura. The Brazilian worked tirelessly and was a constant threat.
Arsenal will look to use their upcoming matches to get into form once again. Before heading to Basel for the final match of the group stage in the Champions League they will play Bournemouth and West Ham United in the EPL and Southampton in the EFL.
Arsenal would have loved to finish top of their group after finishing second for the past five consecutive seasons, but finishing top doesn’t always guarantee the easier draw for the final 16. As things stand, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid are also second in their groups.
Paris Saint-Germain have a big match against Lyon this Sunday as well as games against Angers and Montpellier before their final Champions League match against Ludogorets on December 6th.
Similarly to Arsenal, PSG are fourth in Ligue 1 and will surely be worried about their recent injuries. With only two losses since early July the French side will hope to continue their good form.