Arsene Wenger’s men have been demoted to second place in Group A after being forced to settle for a 2-2 draw against French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
We saw an uninspiring performance from the Premier League big guns for most part of the game at the Emirates, whereas PSG always looked like they knew exactly what they were doing.
Two own goals, a penalty and one goal from open play made for an eventful stalemate in the end and here is our in-depth match report to fill you in on all the details:
Team News & Form Guide
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger made four changes to his side compared to Saturday’s clash against Manchester United.
David Ospina, Kieran Gibbs, Alex Iwobi and last week’s scorer Olivier Giroud were reintroduced in the starting berth, while Santi Casorla and Hector Bellerin were both ruled out due to their back and ankle injuries, respectively.
Unai Emery’s team Paris Saint-Germain travelled to England with a couple of injuries to their key players such as Di Maria, Kurzawa and Rabiot, while Serge Aurier has been denied a British visa, much to a surprise of the visiting delegation.
Both teams headed into the Wednesday’s duel on the back of fine unbeaten run that stretches to 17 straight games for the Gunners and nine in PSG’s case.
Arsenal and PSG have won three and drawn one each in the first four round of their Champions League Group A campaign and tonight’s duel at the Emirates came as a decisive moment to answer the burning question of who gets to claim the top spot.
Gunners’ fans were frustrated to see Arsenal continue the same manner they finished at Manchester United, heading into the PSG game without a single thing to boast with.
They barely created anything during the second half at Old Trafford and for the entire 45 minutes against the French champions at home tonight there was a mere single shot on goal from Arsene Wenger’s side.
Paris Saint-Germain were controlling the proceeding and the visitors will without a doubt have been livid that it was that single shot on target that gave Arsenal a very late first-half equalizer and a timely morale boost.
PSG were a more dominant side in the first term and it took just little over 15 minutes for Emery’s side to get their foot upfront at Arsenal.
Following the quarter of an hour of testing and probing, Edinson Cavani got himself in a good scoring position after a corner, when his flick deflected off the boot of Silva forcing Gibbs to clear off the line.
The same player broke the deadlock just three minutes later.
Matuidi was played well down the left-hand side and did enough to send a cross through the box to Cavani, who was able to slide in the back post and behind Laurent Koscielny, giving French champions the much-deserved lead.
It’s been a sparse first half with both sides creating not much in front of rivaling goal, but it was PSG who showed composure and a clear game plan, contrary to clueless Arsenal who struggled throughout.
Arsenal must have been given quite a rubbing at half time as they came out the different team in the second interval.
Back to their own recognizable instinctive play, the Gunners exerted great pressure straight from the off showing no respect to their French opponents which ultimately yielded results after little over 15 minutes inside the second half.
In all honesty, Arsenal were unlucky not to concede after 54 minutes when Lucas Moura rattled the cross bar from an outrageous long range free kick, but Wenger’s men should be given credit to deserving the goal that came just five minutes after this great chance from PSG.
Some might call the goal lucky, but Arsenal worked hard for their share of luck when Ramsey’s shot first got blocked by Silva, before rebounding off unsuspecting Marco Verratti and into the bottom corner from just ten yards out.
Same way Arsenal got their second in the game, PSG got theirs.
Some twenty minutes of vibrant play was seen from both sides before Paris Saint-Germain managed to get back in the game courtesy of own goal by Iwobi. Ben Arfa’s corner found Lucas Moura at the back post when Brazilian heads towards the goal, but it was Iwobi who made a crucial nudge to divert the ball and deceive Ospina who thought he had it in his hands.
Rejuvenated Arsenal surprisingly lost the tempo in the closing stages of the game as they allowed Edinson Cavani to get into two solid goal chances, sending one ball straight into Ospina’s hands and another, inches wide of the post for an agonizing eight-yard miss.
In the end, PSG will be disappointed with the point but content with the fact they are heading into the group’s final round top of the pack on goal difference.
- PSG dominated proceedings with 52% possession to Arsenal’s 48%
- Visitors made 14 goal attempts compared to Gunners’ 5
- Arsenal are now unbeaten in 18 games across all competitions
- There have been 3 goals on target and 4 goals at the Emirates
- Giroud scored 4 goals in his last 5 shots on target for Arsenal
ARSENAL: Ospina 6.5 – Jenkinson 6.5 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 6.5), Mustafi 7, Koscielny 7, Gibbs 7 – Ramsey 7, Coquelin 6.5 (Walcott 6) – Sanchez 7, Ozil 7, Iwobi 6 (Xhaka 6) – Giroud 7.5
Unused subs: Cech, Elneny, Monreal, Gabriel
PSG: Areola 6.5 – Meunier 7, Marquinhos 7, Silva 7, Maxwell 7 – Verratti 6, Krychowiak 6.5 (Ben Arfa 6.5), Motta 7.5 – Lucas 7.5 (Jese 6), Cavani 7.5, Matuidi 7
Unused subs: Augustin, Ikone, Kimpembe, Knunku, Trapp
REFEREE: Felix Brych
Other results this evening
FK Rostov 3-2 Bayern Munich
Besiktas 3-3 Benfica
Gladbach 1-1 Man City
Celtic 0-2 Barcelona
Ludogorets 0-0 Basel
Napoli 0-0 Dynamo Kiev