Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 10/11
Paris Saint-Germain are in desperate need of a morale-boosting win after successive setbacks in French Ligue 1, but it remains to be seen whether they can show improvement against Arsenal. The Gunners were quite fortunate to defeat Southampton at the weekend, and they are clearly in for a difficult evening at Parc des Princes.
While the Saints did well to lift four straight league trophies, they have failed to get past the Champions League quarter-finals on four successive occasions, and European success is clearly their number one objective this season. PSG bosses hope three-time Europa League champion Unai Emery will lead them to glory, but the Spaniard did not have the best of starts to his career in Paris. The Saints did win their first three fixtures, but then went on to lose to title rivals Monaco and also failed to defeat Saint Etienne at the weekend. It appears that Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic is being sorely missed, even though the squad were reinforced with the likes of Ben Arfa, Jese, Krychowiak and Meunier. The players will also need some time to adopt Unai Emery’s ideas, while numerous injury problems are not helping either. Nevertheless, given the quality at their disposal, it is only a matter of time before PSG come good and that could easily happen against less-than-impressive Arsenal, especially considering that the boss managed to rest most key players at the weekend, unlike his counterpart.
Thiago Silva and Javier Pastore should be back in contention, but Maxwell (back) and Serge Aurier (ankle) might not be ready to feature.
Unai Emery is also sweating over the fitness of Layvin Kurzawa, who is battling a thigh problem, meaning that the Spanish coach could be without a fit senior left-back vs Arsenal.
Arsenal have been regular in Champions League group stages, but they have been utterly disappointing in the knockout rounds, faring even worse than the next opposition. At the same time, the club have struggled to keep up with top sides in English Premier League, so no wonder that the fans have already turned against Arsene Wenger. Following the summer of little activity in the transfer market, the Frenchman secured late deals for Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez, both of whom started the Southampton clash, but the supporters were far from impressed with what they’ve seen from the new recruits. The Gunners struggled to carve out goalscoring opportunities against the Saints and were quite fortunate to be awarded an injury-time penalty, so they do not exactly head to Parc des Princes in the best of spirits. Arsene Wenger will have several important players back to the side for the PSG clash, but it remains to be seen whether they can seriously improve the team’s quality. It is important to note that Arsenal lost three of last four away fixtures in the Champions League, albeit winning three in a row prior to said run.
Per Mertesacker, Gabriel Paulista and Mathieu Debuchy continue to miss out, but Aaron Ramsey should be back in contention.
The likes of Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez and Granit Xhaka should be recalled, while Alex Iwobi has returned into action.
Key Factors to Consider
- Arsenal lost three of last four away games in CL (W1)
- PSG are unbeaten in last five CL fixtures at home (W3 D2)
- Arsenal have one win and one draw in two meetings with PSG
- PSG won six of last eight home games (D2)
- Both teams scored in three of Arsenal’s four matches this season
Paris Saint-Germain have struggled for form of late, but they have been quite impressive in Champions League group stages over the last few years and we believe they can pile more misery on Arsenal. The Gunners are not exactly on fire at the moment, as quite a few key players are far from the desired form.
Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 10/11