Champions League

Arsenal 2 PSG 2: The battle continues

A rather disappointing night saw Arsenal staring down the barrel of finishing second in their Champions League group yet again.

The game started well for PSG and they created its first chance, it came from a corner but they saw their chance cleared off the line by Kieran Gibbs. PSG then stormed into the lead when Edinson Cavani slid home after a sensational 21 pass move with the final ball coming via an inch-perfect cross from Blaise Matuidi.

Despite struggling to get a foot-hold in the game, Arsenal were handed the opportunity to equalise shortly before the break when Alexis Sanchez was fouled in the penalty area by Grzegorz Krychowiak. Olivier Giroud stepped up and stroked the ball home to put his side level going into the break.

The second half started in much the same fashion as the first, PSG very nearly took the lead when Lucas Moura’s free kick hit the crossbar but as so often happens in football if you don’t take your chances when you’re on top you get punished and with Arsenal showing gradual signs of improvement going into the second half, they took the lead courtesy of Aaron Ramsey deflected shot off Marco Veratti.

PSG took the initiative and seized top spot in the group not 10 minutes later when Lucas Moura’s shot rebounded off Alex Iwobi, who knew nothing about the effort and found the back of the net 13 minutes from time.

PSG even had the chance to win it late on but Edinson Cavani wasted a glorious opportunity. He was clean through on goal all alone in the penalty area with all the time in the world and he decided to try and chip Ospina  but only succeeded in limply plaing the ball in the goalkeeper;s hands. That was the first of two chances Cavani had towards the end of the match to wrap up a win.

A win here could’ve seen Arsene Wenger’s side finish top of the group with a match to spare. Although unlikely, Arsenal could still finish top but only if they beat Basel, and PSG fail to beat Ludogorets.
Not being beaten in all competitions since August is a positive, but on the flipside, three successive draws is a damning record which shows that things will have to change soon.

The result was somewhat frustrating for Arsenal as they could’ve won the game, which would’ve seen them finish top. But knowing (assuming) the permutations for the last 16 draws, Arsenal could be drawn against Real Madrid (if they win the group) or Barcelona (if they finish second).

Wenger has said that his side showed resilience throughout the season, especially when they’re up against it.

So, PSG still have the upper hand but the battle to finish top goes right down the last day when Arsenal travel to Basel (Mohamed Elneny, and Granit Xhaka will have fond memories of their time at the club) and PSG welcome Ludogorets Razgrad to the Parc des Princes. The finish line is in sight but we’ll know which side crosses the line first in December…

Arsenals focus returns to the Premier League this weekend when they entertain Bournemouth. Who would you like to see play? Did Arsenals performance on Wednesday night convince you?

Feature image credit: wonker

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