I don’t want to hype this one up too much, but this game could ultimately decide how the rest of Arsenal’s season goes… so no pressure then lads!
The Gunners welcome PSG to the Emirates knowing that the winner will confirm their place at the top of Group A and be handed a nicer tie when it comes to the knockout stages.
There’s barely anything to separate the European heavyweights going in to this one, but three points would certainly free up Wenger’s squad selection for weeks to come.
If they pick up a win, he’ll have the ability to send a reserve side to Basel in two weeks time, a great chance to rest the regular starting XI ahead of a frantic festive period.
To do that, they’ll need to bounce back to winning ways after consecutive draws in the Premier League to United and Spurs which stretched their unbeaten run to 17 games.
Not much has changed in terms of Wenger’s options, and it’ll be a fairly similar squad that travelled to Old Trafford at the weekend, with still no Santi Cazorla available.
He’s travelled back to Spain to step up his recovery process, whilst Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott recovered from the weekend by spending the day in the gym on Tuesday.
Olivier Giroud will challenge Alexis for the centre forward role after picking up another substitutes goal, whilst a fully rested Alex Iwobi is another option to play on the flanks.
The one change we can be sure of is David Ospina coming in for goalkeeping regular Petr Cech. The Colombian has conceded three goals from four Champions League games.
Despite getting substituted after 36 minutes at the weekend, Angel di Maria is expected to feature after Unai Emery admitted the decision was purely precautionary.
That’s the only good news the PSG boss has at the moment, with Javier Pastore missing after picking up a nasty knee injury that will see him miss up to two weeks of action.
Highly-rated midfielder Adrien Rabiot will have to take a place on the sidelines as well, and that could turn out to be a massive loss considering his versatility in the middle of the park.
Completing the list of senior players missing is goalkeeper Alphonse Areola and defender Layvin Kurzawa, who are serious doubts due to lack of fitness.
One’s To Watch
Arsenal – Francis Coquelin
With Santi Cazorla missing it’s been tough to watch our midfield in recent weeks, and many have questioned Wenger’s decision for the CDM role.
However, it looks as if the boss is continuing to put his faith in Coquelin but if we’re going to beat PSG he needs to maintain his discipline first, and his awareness second.
We have to start playing a little bit differently with Cazorla out, and so I would love to see Coquelin sitting back a little more when we go forward as a unit.
As great as he is at putting pressure on the opposition high up the field, with Jenkinson for company in defence there’s a chance of getting caught out, and PSG will punish us for that.
PSG – Edison Cavani
Often linked with the Gunners, this is a striker that any Arsenal fan would love to have in our side and at 29 he’s starting to really hit the best of his career.
He’s already bagged 15 goals from 14 starts this season, and four of those have come in Europe which included that 1st minute header that saw us go 1-0 down in France.
Mustafi and Koscielny will have to be at the top of their game because Cavani really can grab a goal from anywhere in and around the penalty area.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Ospina, Jenkinson, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Xhaka, Iwobi, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud
PSG (4-3-3): Trapp, Thomas, Marquinhos, Thiago, Maxwell, Verratti, Motta, Matuidi, Di Maria, Cavani, Lucas
Prediction: Arsenal 3-2 PSG
It’s a bold prediction but I think this game will be so open due to the desperation for three points, so defences will be wide open with gaps as both sides give 100%.
With the home crowd on their side I just think Arsenal have what it takes to get beyond this team, who haven’t been incredible in Ligue 1 despite sitting second in the table.
It’s all about how Wenger lines up because I’d really like to see Giroud fighting for his place again, he looks like a different player this season and the celebration at the weekend proved that.
Neither side want to worry about match-day six in the Champions League so expect to see an end-to-end game – something that will finally play into the hands of Arsenal.
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