Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 Arsenal: Alexis gifts the Gunners a point late on in Paris

Match report of the opening match from Group A, as PSG hosted Arsenal in the Champions League.

Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 Arsenal: Alexis gifts the Gunners a point late on in Paris
Source: Sky Sports
PSG
1 1
Arsenal
PSG: Areola; Aurier (Meunier, min. 83), Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Maxwell; Verratti, Krychowiak, Rabiot (Motta, min. 75); Matuidi, Cavani, di Maria
Arsenal: Ospina; Monreal, Koscielny, Mustafi, Bellerin; Coquelin (Xhaka, min. 69), Cazorla; Iwobi, Ozil (ElNeny, min. 84), Chamberlain (Giroud, min. 61.); Alexis
SCORE: PSG: 1-0; Cavani, min. 1 Arsenal: 1-1; Alexis, min. 77
REFEREE: 90+3: Red Cards; Giroud and Verratti

The Champions League returned for both Arsenal and Paris Saint Germain, as the two kicked off the action in Group A. 

Before the game, there was a lot of confusion regarding Arsene Wenger’s team selection, however, the frustration was forgotten as the game kicked off as the Gunners began their Champions League campaign in Paris.

An instant blow for the Gunners

Early in the match, the anger of Arsenal fans was justified, as PSG took the lead after just 32 seconds of play. Serge Aurier’s attacking ability allowed him to exploit Nacho Monreal, Aurier’s driven cross looped into the box, finding the head of Cavani who knocked the ball away from Ospina to give PSG the lead.

PSG continued to dominate the game, as it seemed that Arsenal were in shock after going behind so quickly. Arsenal got a rare chance just after the twenty-minute mark, reminding spectators that they were still on the pitch.

The battle of the full backs continued, this time their roles were reversed as Monreal lost Aurier on the edge of the box, the Spaniards cross to back post found Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who nodded the ball back across goal in the search of an Arsenal body. The threat was cancelled however as Marquinhos headed away the danger.

Cavani celebrates opening the scoring. | Source: BBC
Cavani celebrates opening the scoring. | Source: BBC

Cavani misses the chance for a first half double

The game opened up soon after, as Arsenal found their feet to get the ball forward. The Gunners were reminded of their opposition as some lackadaisical defensive play in midfield saw Marco Verratti threaded a delicate ball through to Cavani, sending Koscielny and Mustafi into a frenzy. Arsene Wenger’s team were let off by some scruffy play by Cavani, as he shot wide in a one on one situation with David Ospina. Credit must be given to the Colombian keeper, as he forced Cavani wide as his shot lacked direction. 

PSG go close again

Just as we saw before the half time whistle, the elegance of Verratti in midfield unlocked the Arsenal defence once more. This time, Di Maria darted into the space created between the Arsenal back line, resulting on him being head to head with Nacho Monreal in front of Ospina in the goal. Monreal got the better of the Argentine, as his presence pressured Di Maria to knock the ball with his knee, seeing the ball roll behind for an Arsenal goal kick. 

Impressive Ospina

After some immaculate play from Rabiot, Koscielny's failed challenge was gifted to Cavani, who was once more one on one with Ospina. Ospina came out on top again, blocking Cavani's shot with his face as Mustafi cleared the danger - Arsenal lucky once again. 

The Colombian goalkeeper was unbeatable once again seconds after, as the ball found the possession of Di Maria. His powerful shot looked to be looping over the head of Ospina, but a firm hand by Arsenal's number 13 sent the ball over for a corner. 

Alexis celebrates the equaliser. | Source: Sky Sports
Alexis celebrates the equaliser. | Source: Sky Sports

Arsenal keep their patience and get their goal

Very few chances came around for the Gunners during the game, but when the chance fell to Alexis Sanchez in the 75th minute. A low ball in from Mesut Özil firstly found Alex Iwobi in the box, the young Nigerian's wicked shot was saved by Areola, but the rebound found Alexis on the edge of the box, who hit a venemous effort at goal, levelling the game at 1-1 late on. 

Late drama in the game saw the dismissal of both Olivier Giroud and Marco Verratti. An off the ball incident saw a tussle between the Frenchman and the Italian, despite not seeing the incident, the referee chose to send both players off. 

Spoils shared

Unai Emery will be wondering how his side didn't take three points from the game. It was a unified performance from Wenger's team, who despite being bullied in the opening stages of the game, stood strong to earn a point. The two teams meet again at the Emirates in November.