In the immediate aftermath of the Champions League draw Arsene Wenger claimed Paris Saint-Germain favorites to top Group A ahead of Arsenal.
Olivier Giroud reinforced his manager’s claim just a few days ago, but there are plenty of reasons why the Gunners should be confident of heading back from Paris with three points.
PSG’S MESSY ATTACK…
The huge omission from PSG’s 18-man squad to face Arsenal is Hatem Ben Arfa.
The 29-year-old was one of the standout stars in Ligue 1 last season, scoring 17 goals and registering six assists in 34 appearances.
But following his move to PSG this summer, Ben Arfa has failed to replicate his form and was brought off after just 68 minutes in Friday’s 1-1 draw with Saint-Etienne.
Jese, a £21.2 million summer acquisition from Real Madrid, has similarly endured a stuttering start to the campaign. He lasted less than an hour against Saint-Etienne, while his angry reaction to the substitution was caught on camera.
A huge loss for Unai Emery will be the absence of left-back Layvin Kurzawa, who will miss out due to a thigh injury.
Presnel Kimpembe, a 21-year-old who is yet to make his Champions League debut, could deputise on the left flank if Maxwell, who hasn’t played this season, is not fit enough to start.
Emery also has to decide whether to risk Thiago Silva. The Brazilian is yet to feature this term after suffering a hip injury during pre-season and therefore the man who’ll partner Marquinhos at centre-back remains unconfirmed.
PSG’s first-choice right-back Serge Aurier was also a doubt last week due to an ankle injury and has only been training since Sunday after missing the draw with Saint-Etienne.
Hector Bellerin was adamant in the pre-match press conference that PSG will not feel the loss of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s departure to Manchester United.
But the 34-year-old scored 50 goals in 51 appearances last season, and finding a replacement for such a prolific striker is no easy task.
Cavani has been given the central role he’s desperately wanted since he joined from Napoli in 2013, but the Uruguayan’s inconsistency in his finishing poses major question marks over his ability to fully replace the Swede.
However, both managers are already under a bit of pressure it seems. Wenger needs to challenge in both the Premier League and Champions League this season after finally spending some money in the transfer window on Shkodan Mustafi and Lucas Perez.
However, his club has got off to a mixed start, with a 4-3 defeat to Liverpool the low point so far. With the improved squads and managerial talent on offer in England, Arsenal face a tough task to reach the top four and the latter stages in Europe.
Unai Emery is similarly struggling – PSG have dominated Ligue 1 in recent years but currently sit seventh with only 7 points from their first four games. If Emery cannot maintain the standards in the one-dimensional league then he will have problems in Europe, and, eventually, to keep his job