Champions League

Preview: Paris Saint-Germain v Arsenal

2016-09-13 13:02
Theo Walcott and Arsene Wenger (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Arsene Wenger's Arsenal begin their UEFA Champions League campaign with a tough Group A assignment in Paris against a Paris Saint-Germain outfit still adjusting to life under Unai Emery. 

Both sides have experienced mixed starts to their domestic campaigns and will no doubt be eager to shine on Tuesday night at the Parc des Princes.

PSG have had an uncertain start in the league in France picking up just seven points from their opening four games this term under Emery - the Spaniard took over from the hugely successful Laurent Blanc ahead of this season.

The 44-year-old will no doubt be looking for Ángel Di María to sparkle as he looks for a new player to star for the team after Zlatan Ibrahimovic departed for Manchester United.

The Argentina international is a key player for PSG and has had success in the UEFA Champions League having won it in 2014 with Real Madrid. 

However, Emery has called upon his whole side to rise to the occasion against Arsenal. He told reporters, "Arsenal remain our biggest rival. They are a big club with a great coach and great players. This is an opportunity for us to work hard and experience a great football moment."

Arsene Wenger's side have won their last two Premier League matches and should at least visit the French capital with some confidence.

Nonetheless, Wenger has asked for new signings like Lucas Perez and Shkodran Mustafi to be be given time ahead of the clash with PSG.

He told the club's official website, "We bought one more striker (Perez) because we thought we needed one more. Let's give him time and not judge him too quickly. Mustafi has only played one half since the start of the season with Valencia, so they are (both) missing games."

In team news, the Gunners are set to welcome back Kieran Gibbs to the squad for the match after he recovered from injury. Granit Xhaka could play a part after being rested in the 2-1 win over Southampton while the same applies to Alexis Sanchez, who only played around 30 minutes in the game. 

Defender Laurent Koscielny is doubtful for the tie after injuring his eye in the same game. In addition, Aaron Ramsey is ruled out as he has not recovered from a hamstring strain he picked up against Liverpool. Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck remain long term casualties for the London side. 

Meanwhile, defenders Serge Aurier, Maxwell, Thiago Silva and Layvin Kurzawa are all doubtful for PSG. This means Emery may have to play players out of position in defence if the quartet aren't deemed fit to play. At present Marquinhos, Presnel Kimpembe and Thomas Meunier are the club's only fully-fit defenders.

 

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