Arsenal battled to a draw against PSG after conceding in the first minute of their Champions League group A game on Tuesday in Paris. The Gunners are now in a good position to potentially finish on top of their group for the first time since 2011.
Despite conceding early on in the game and giving the home side several more chances to take away all three points, Arsene Wenger’s men returned to North London with a valuable point in what was, on paper, their most difficult fixture in Champions League group A. TheHardTackle takes a look at five talking points from the 1-1 draw at the Parc de Princes.
1. Wenger’s selection pays off
Some eyebrows were raised at Arsene Wenger’s starting XI for the game against PSG. Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina started in goal instead of a fit Petr Cech, while Chilean winger Alexis Sanchez played as central striker, with ‘pure’ strikers Olivier Giroud and Lucas Perez on the bench.
Ospina made some high profile errors last year in the Champions League group stage, but pulled off a brilliant performance and made more than half a dozen good saves against PSG. At the other end, Sanchez scored the equalizer in the 77th minute to earn a point for Arsenal.
2. Marco Verratti and Adrien Rabiot are the future for PSG
PSG bossed the midfield thanks to these two young talents. While 23-year-old Marco Verratti is widely regarded as one of the big hopes for the future of the Italy national team, 21-year-old Frenchman Adrien Rabiot has come into his own over the past couple of seasons.
The duo had the joint highest number of successful tackles in the game along with two other PSG players in Blaise Matuidi and Maxwell (3). Verratti was also one successful dribble short of Rabiot’s three dribbles — the highest in the game.
3. Alex Iwobi is one to watch out for
The 20-year-old Nigerian forward has developed in leaps and bounds since Wenger handed him his debut last season. Iwobi could grow to become one of the most potent attacking threats for the Gunners in these coming seasons, as he showed against PSG.
His parried shot opened the door for Alexis Sanchez’ equalizer and Iwobi had the joint most shots on goal (3) along with PSG striker Edinson Cavani. He also had two shots off target and completed a brilliant dribble.
4. Edinson Cavani is still in the shadow of Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The Uruguayan striker flattered to deceive against Arsenal. After scoring the early opening goal, he failed to capitalize on PSG’s midfield dominance and was denied on several occasions by an inspired David Ospina.
The Parisians were desperately missing Zlatan’s accurate finishing, and the clock seems to be ticking for 29-year-old Cavani. The Uruguayan must repay the faith shown in him by his manager and club, or his career at PSG may well be at an end.
5. A waste of Ozil
German midfielder Mesut Ozil was mostly anonymous for Arsenal against the Parisians. The playmaker was simply reduced to spraying passes backwards and sideways as the Gunners came up against some resolute defending.
Ozil’s talents can turn a game on its head, but he needs a quality striker to feed. The use of a winger in Sanchez up front did not help in this regard. Arsenal fans would hope that he he has more of an impact for the club in their upcoming games.