It is approaching crunch time in Group A as PSG are the visitors to the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal are joint top of the group alongside the French club with ten points and the winners on Wednesday night will finish top of the group. It is a great opportunity for the Gunners, who have struggled to get past the round of 16 due to difficult draws. If they finish top of the group, they will have a good chance of avoiding the better European sides, such as Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Arsenal haven’t lost a match since the first day of the season and managed to retain their momentum at the weekend thanks to a late equalising goal from Oliver Giroud to take a point from Old Trafford. Although they didn’t get the result that they wanted, they managed to rescue a point, despite playing poorly. That is the mark of a good side, especially when coming up against a rival club. This Arsenal side is the best that the club have seen in a long time and they need to show that on the pitch by challenging for major honours. They are some way from winning the Champions League, but a quarter-final spot should be within their grasp and a victory against PSG would be a huge help in achieving that.
PSG are still adjusting to life under new manager Unai Emery and they will be there for the taking on Wednesday. That said, they still possess a lot of quality and Arsenal need to be wary of that. In the league, PSG are currently third behind both Nice and Monaco, which will surprise those that aren’t closely following Ligue 1. However, that has been due to how good those two clubs have been, rather than PSG regressing. The Parisien club are still favourites to lift the league and I’d expect them to do so, but they no longer have the quality to challenge for the Champions League after the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
In the first meeting of the two clubs, the match ended level with both sides taking a point, despite the dominance of the French side. Edinson Cavini scored for the hosts before Alexis Sanchez salvaged a point for the English side. Marco Verratti and Olivier Giroud were both sent off during the match.
Olivier Giroud has scored seven goals from his last eight shots in the Premier League. He is a man in form and could be given the opportunity to start on Wednesday
Arsenal have averaged three goals per game in the Champions League this season, only Barcelona have scored more in this season’s competition.
It is great news for Arsenal that the Chilean won’t be missing any amount of action after an injury scare during the international break. He is one of the few players in the squad that is capable of competing at the very highest level and he has been in great form at the beginning of the new season. Sanchez has been transformed since being moved to a central role, providing Arsene Wenger with a different option to Oliver Giroud. The competition has been a positive thing for the Frenchman and he has stepped up his goal-scoring form as a result. He has two goals and two assists in the Champions League this season, but he will need to show that he can perform when it really matters in the biggest match of their competition to date. Arsenal need their key players to step up and Sanchez is certainly one of those.
The Brazilian was once seen as a better talent than Neymar in Brazil, but he has struggled to fulfil his potential in Ligue 1. He has started to develop at a quicker rate this season and is thriving in the more prominent role that he has been asked to play. At the age of 24, he could now be growing into the player that we always expected him to be. The biggest question is whether he can show up in the big matches and we will get an answer of sorts in the match on Wednesday. He has been in good goal-scoring form this season, with seven goals in all competitions. PSG are outsiders to win this match, but they poses a difficult test for Arsenal with the players they possess, especially in attack. Lucas Moura has a lot of pace to burn and that could cause Arsenal problems, especially on the counter-attack.
Hector Bellerin, Lucas Perez, Santi Cazorla, Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck are all going to be missing for the home side. Meanwhile, Olivier Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are pushing for starts after good contributions against Manchester Untied.
PSG have been boosted by the news surrounding Angel di Maria. He was forced off at the weekend, but Unai Emery expects him to be fit for the trip to England.
This is the pick of the matches of this Champions League game-week as they are two clubs that will be expecting to get to the latter rounds of the competition. Arsenal have suffered due to their failure to win their group in the past and they will be eager to take the opportunity presented to them in Group A. PSG aren’t the same side that they have been in previous years and Arsenal are favourites to win the match on Wednesday. I expect them to come out on top, but it will a tight match and Wenger will need to make sure his side are much better than they were on Saturday.