Arsenal did well to dig themselves out of a hole against PSG in their opening game of Champions League last night. A late goal from Alexis Sanchez canceled Edinson Cavani’s opening goal just after 45 seconds of the match.
Gunners were totally bamboozled by PSG’s passing and pressing game in the first half. Had it not been for Cavani’s hopeless finishing, PSG would have taken a 3-0 or even a 4-0 lead even before the hour mark.
The Uruguayan international had the perfect opportunity to come out of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s shadows but judging by his performances last night, PSG might want to re-consider their stance on Cavani being the number one striker at Parc de Princes.
However, I was more taken a back with Arsene Wenger’s team selection on the night as he decided to rest Olivier Giroud and Petr Cech which saw David Ospina get a rare start with Alexis Sanchez asked to operate in the false 9 role.
While Ospina justified his selection with 3 quick-fire saves in the second half but Wenger’s decision to go without Giroud really hurt their chances on the night. Arsenal looked a completely different team in the second half when Giroud was the focal point with Alexis and Mesut Ozil joining the attack.
Despite getting outplayed for most part of the game, Arsenal dominated PSG in the closing minutes and even had the better chances to go on and win the game. Soon after Alexis Sanchez’s equalizer, Alex Iwobi had a good chance to score the winning goal but Alphonse Areola made a very good save for PSG.
Wenger to be blamed for the result?
Leading up to the game against PSG, Arsenal manager was confident of the squad he had at his disposal and went on to say all the positive things. Wenger said that he currently has the most mature squad and he is very confident of his team’s chances this season.
However, his team selection on the night was not in sync with what he said prior to the game. Arsenal could have easily won their game against PSG had Wenger decided to play his full strength team vs PSG, instead Gunners could only manage a draw and will now need to win against the likes of Basel and Ludogorets Razgrad to ensure their qualification to the knockout rounds.
Arsenal have paid the price of playing safe in recent seasons and considering this could be Arsene Wenger’s final season in charge of Arsenal, I was expecting a different approach from the Frenchman but as it turns out nothing has changed for the club and it does not paint a pretty picture for Arsenal’s chances this season.
Wenger did well in talking his team’s chances earlier in the week now it is up to him to manage the squad in an efficient manner which would enable Arsenal to mount a serious challenge on all the fronts, especially Champions League which has eluded Wenger all these years.