Two teams that have both already qualified, who lay on the same about of points and with same the ambition: To outgun the other and claim top spot for themselves. On Wednesday night its a straight shoot out between the top two in the group for a place at the top of Group A and a kinder draw into the next round of the Champions League for the winner… so no pressure lads!
Currently, Arsenal sit above PSG due to a reasonably better goal difference but both teams share the same amount of points in Group A. The two teams also share the same destiny in the Champions League as both have progressed into the Round of 16 already, but the winner of the group will be higher seeded in the draw and as a result, they’ll most likely get a easier draw going into the knockout stage. However, talking before the game, Thiago Motta said he believes that “It is wrong to think only those who top the group can go on to win the Champions League.” This is a good sign that the Paris players aren’t feeling a great amount of pressure ahead of the clash.
The first clash between the top two in the group at the Parc Des Princes was an extremely eventful match. Cavani got the game off to a strong start for Les Parisiens but Chile international, Alexis Sanchez equalised for Arsenal. The game ended 1-1 but only after huge controversy late on when the referee decided to send off both Marco Verratti and Arsenal striker, Olivier Giroud.
Going into Wednesday’s game, both teams can boast good form. Paris are unbeaten in nine games and have won all their Champions League games in that period, including a 3-1 win away at Ludogorets and wins home and away against Basel. Unfortunately for PSG, Arsenal can boast an equally impressive record. Their only loss so far came on the opening day to Liverpool and they’ve remained unbeaten since. Despite good form, they could only record a 1-1 scoreline against Manchester United on the weekend whereas Paris are coming off the back of a comfortable 2-0 win against Nantes.
However, the win at home to Nantes did come at a price of Paris. Di Maria was taken off as a “precaution” after it looked as if he had a hamstring problem. He remains doubtful but Pastore, who was also taken off against Nantes, has been left out of the squad, alongside Adrien Rabiot who was injured on international duty with France. Areola and Kurzawa were also left out on the weekend but the former looks likely to start after returning to training. However, due to complicated situations off of the pitch, Serge Aurier is unable to travel because of an on going court case and is really the first footballer to feel the effects of the controversial ‘Brexit’ in the UK.
So with a range of injuries all over the pitch, PSG will have a hard task to beat Arseanl but something they will certainly have to achieve with the owner getting incresingly impatient and expecting a good performance in the Champions League under new management.
Predicted Starting XI
(4-3-3) Areola; Meunier, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Maxwell; Motta, Verratti, Matuidi; Lucas, Cavani, Di Maria
Subs: Trapp, Kimpembe, Krychowiak, Ben Arfa, Pastore, Jese, Augustin
Arsenal 1-2 PSG