Paris Saint Germain 1-1 Arsenal
13th September, 2016
Parc des Princes – UEFA Champions League
Arsenal traveled to France this evening to square off against the French Champions, Paris Saint Germain in the opening game of their Champions League campaign. PSG however, managed to take the lead in just 42 seconds, only for Alexis Sanchez to conjure up an emphatic equalising goal for the Gunners as the game ended all square despite PSG’s dominance.
Arsene Wenger seems to have fueled the hotly controversial ‘#WengerOut’ debate considerably this evening, after selecting a weakened Arsenal side to face the current French Champions, Paris Saint Germain, and it didn’t take too long for the decision to raise eyebrows on the pitch. PSG went 1-0 up inside the first minute of play after the explosive Serge Aurier delivered a teasing cross that was met by Edison Cavani who seems to be relishing the prospect of replacing Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the clubs main hitman. 42 seconds was the official time of the goal- a dreadful start for the Gunners in game where it could have got a lot worse just before halftime if it wasn’t for Cavani to unusually squander a golden opportunity after rounding the helpless David Ospina.
PSG continued to torment as the half wore on and in reality, it could have been 2 or 3 for PSG who went into half time much the better side. Alexis Sanchez looked isolated at the lone forward, Oxlade-Chamberlain seemed inexperienced and reckless on the ball at the best of times, while I’m certain that Alex Iwobi would struggle to get into the Newcastle United side that destroyed Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road this evening.
The second half resulted in much of the same with PSG largely controling the match and splitting open the Arsenal backline on more than one occasion but thankfully for them, Ospina was in fine form to prevent the likes of Cavani and di Maria from extending the lead in Paris. Wenger changed things for Arsenal who looked as if they needed something extra to get anything from this tie- and it worked. Arsenal drafted in Olivier Giroud for Oxlade-Chamberlain and Granit Xhaka for Francis Coquelin, meaning Alexis Sanchez could drift out into a more favoured wide position. There was a lot of slow, patient build up play from Arsenal at times but the substitutions did pay off. Sanchez found an equalising goal for the Gunners after pouncing on an effort that was palmed into his path by the PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.
The French Champions seemed at ease throughout and will be disappointed at not having finished the game off before Sanchez found the leveler. The frustration from both sides seemed to boil over in injury time as Verratti and Giroud were both brandished with seemingly harsh red cards after a clash near the touchline. All in all, the game ended all square with PSG certainly feeling as if this was a case of 2 points lost, rather than 1 point gained.