Arsenal travel to Paris to take on PSG in their first round of Champions League group stage fixtures.  Ahead of the clash, Gunners manager Arsene Wenger is wary of PSG, but at the same time, also satisfied with his squad although he admits they are not exactly at their peak condition.

Wenger said,”I was used to play with much younger squads when we built the stadium because we did not have the resources. The squad is between 24-30 basically, because that is where you have the experience. PSG have had a little bit the same problems that we have. But I am not worrying for them too much!”

“Both sides are still looking for rhythm… Our calendar is difficult vis-à-vis our physical shape”, he added.

He also conceded,”For us this is an important match, but there is no symbolic desire to win. We want to play well and win,” explained the Frenchman. Last year we were 2nd because Bayern were in front of us. Bayern were more consistent. I think that PSG are very strong in midfield. The game will be won or lost there. Better than all my speeches is the way we play. We are used to the intensity of the Champions League.”

Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger gives a press conference on the eve of the team's UEFA Champions League football match against Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), on September 12, 2016 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. / AFP / FRANCK FIFE

Arsenal’s French manager Arsene Wenger gives a press conference on the eve of the team’s UEFA Champions League football match against Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), on September 12, 2016 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. / AFP / FRANCK FIFE

 

PSG midfielder Marco Verratti respects Arsenal’s status, but insists the Paris club are up for the challenge

He stated that Arsenal is a big club who are used to playing at the Champions League  level and have a lot of good, technically proficient individual players.

“But I think we’ll prepare in the best way possible and we know what we have to do to cause them problems. We know what they can do, too. That might actually make the match easier. When you play against a top club, you always give 100 per cent out on the pitch”, Verratti said.

Manager Unai Emery is sweating on the fitness of Thiago Silva, but could call him back in for the Arsenal game.

Emery stated that they would decide that after the final training session.

“We will see how he feels. The most important thing is if he feels ready. He is a big player. If he feels good, it is a possibility. Big matches are for big players.”

The Spaniard also commented on Wenger, revealing his respect for the Frenchman.

“I have a lot of respect for his longevity. It’s not very common,” Emery added.

Both teams will be looking to get their Champions League campaign off to a winning start and aim for a top finish in a group where they are the favourites to qualify for the next round.