Monday, 12 September 2016

Arsenal's Trip To PSG Previewed

Arsenal just about managed to beat Southampton on Saturday, but I'm still not quite sure how they did it. It was a far from impressive display and they got out of jail right at the death with a somewhat lucky penalty. They won though and took three very important points to move them up to seventh in the Premier League table.

It was a pretty strong Arsenal team too, but there were a few noteable absentees. With the trip to PSG in mind Arsene Wenger left Granit Xhaka and Olivier Giroud on the bench while Alexis Sanchez didn't start as he was back quite late from international duty in South America. I expect all three of them to start against PSG as Arsene Wenger looks to play his strongest team possible.

There is a suggestion that David Ospina will get the nod ahead of Petr Cech as he did in some of the group games last season. It's a risky move which backfired badly at home to Olympiacis, but to be fair to Ospina he is a good keeper and Cech has made his fair share of mistakes since joining Arsenal too. None of those mistakes have been as obvious as the one Ospina made in that game, but there is a suggestion he is struggling with long range efforts.

There could be other changes too with the possibility of Mohamed Elneny coming in for Santi Cazorla to add some more strength in front of the defence alongside Xhaka. Santi has played very well so far and has probably been our best attacking player to this point, but a player who can offer more defensively might be a better option for this game. I'd like to see how Xhaka and Elneny perform together and we might just get a chance to see that combination in this game.

I suppose there's a possibility of Theo Walcott missing out too as he hasn't exactly been overly impressive so far this season. If Giroud plays centrally then Alexis will come in on the left or right and we could see Lucas Perez retain his place, but shift to a wide role. I think Walcott will get the nod ahead of both of them though while Alex Iwobi is unlikely to play from the start too.

There are plenty of other options available with the possibility of Mesut Ozil or Cazorla moving to the wide role and the other one of those two playing behind the striker to accomodate both players. I think Ozil will play his usual role though and Cazorla will be the man to miss out. It's good that we have so many options and hopefully the players can find more understanding than they did on Saturday as the season progresses.

PSG have the French league tied up at almost a stroll and the real challenge for them is in the Champions League. It's the trophy their mega rich owners desire more than any other, but it's not easy to win as Arsenal are well aware. They might not be on top of their domestic league right now, but I have no doubt they will be before too long and until the season ends too.

On the face of it Arsenal's group is none too difficult and it should be a fight between them and PSG for first place. While Basel and Ludogorets cannot be written off, Arsenal should be able to finish ahead of both of them as long as they don't treat them as lightly as they did the so called also rans in their group last season. They managed to get out of that group last season despite themselves and hopefully they will do things a lot better this season.

It's been far too long since Arsenal made it past the last 16 of the Champions League and the best way to do that is to win their group. If they can stay on top of their games against Basel and Ludogorets then the group should come down to the results home and away against PSG. A win away to them would be the ideal way to get off the mark in the group, but I'd happily take a point from this game.

The team still haven't put in a 90 minute performance in their four games to date, but now is the time for them to do just that. This will be their toughest game so far and a good result could be just what the team needs to get them going.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment