Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi, Alexis
Subs: Cech, Holding, Gibbs, Xhaka, Elneny, Lucas, Giroud
Arsenal had Alexis Sanchez, and some shocking finishing from PSG, to thank as the Chilean’s equaliser gained them a point with a 1-1 against PSG in the Champions League tonight.
There were some surprises to Arsene Wenger’s starting line-up with David Ospina replacing Petr Cech in goal, and Alex Iwobi coming in for the injured Theo Walcott. Alexis Sanchez was preferred to Olivier Giroud or Lucas Perez up front, while the Coqzorla midfield partnership was given another run out, leaving £35m summer signing Granit Xhaka on the bench.
What Arsenal needed was a good start and what they got was quite the opposite, going down inside 42 seconds. Serge Aurier got free down the right hand side, he whipped in a cross and Cavani got free at the near post to head in from close range. 1-0.
The Gunners had Laurent Koscielny to thank after he made a good block in the box, while Marco Veratti picked up an early yellow card for a foul on Coquelin.
Ospina was the busier of the two keepers, palming away a corner which was curling in and then coming off his line quickly to head away as the home side looked to get in behind.
Arsenal’s first chance came to Oxlade-Chamberlain at the back post, but he headed Monreal’s cross back across the goal rather than have a go himself. Coquelin picked up a 24th minute yellow card which was pretty harsh, and PSG should have doubled their lead just after the half hour mark.
Monreal intercepted, wrongfooted Koscielny and the ball fell to Cavani. He went around Ospina but remarkably pulled his shot wide of the post with the goal gaping like a dysentery-hit hippo’s chocolate starfish.
He was guilty of another horrendous miss just a few minutes later. The ball came to him in our box, he’d beaten the offside trap, but rather than chest it down and score he just fell over like a startled goat. Arsenal were lucky that they weren’t playing someone who is actually good at football.
When the half-time whistle went, Arsene Wenger’s side could count themselves lucky that they were only the one goal down. There were no changes for either side at the break, and Arsenal did begin with plenty of possession in the PSG half, chances were still hard to fashion though.
At the other end there was another clear sight of goal for PSG when di Maria got in behind, under pressure from Monreal he mis-controlled the ball then fell over looking for a penalty but the referee was having none of it.
Coquelin saw a stinging effort from outside the box deflect over, Aurier hit one into the side-netting, and good defending from Bellerin prevented Matuidi from having a tap-in again from an Aurier delivery from the right hand side.
Wenger made his first chance on 63′ with Olivier Giroud entering the field to whistles from the home fans as Oxlade-Chamberlain went off. But it was PSG who still looked most dangerous, Ospina had to be alert to save from Aurier as found himself one on one with the Arsenal keeper.
Moments later he did it again. The ball rebounded to Cavani in our box, he had just the keeper to beat but again the Colombian stood up well and made the save.
Granit Xhaka came on for Coquelin in the 71st minute and once more Ospina was called into action, tipping over from di Maria after his poor initial distribution caused a problem in the first place.
PSG would come to rue all those missed chances, as the Gunners leveled the game in the 78th minute. The initial chance came to Iwobi, he hit it straight at the keeper, but it rebounded out to Alexis who smashed it into the bottom corner to make it 1-1.
There was almost an immediate response from the home side. Cavani was through again, powering away from Koscielny, he was going around the keeper, but the Colombian put out a hand and scooped it away.
At the other end Alexis created a great chance for Iwobi to put Arsenal ahead, but his shot was a little bit weak and the keeper made the save. Mohamed Elneny came on for Ozil in the 84th minute as Wenger looked to shore things up.
Giroud picked up a yellow card for dissent, and late on he picked up a second yellow for nothing much at all after a coming together with Veratti, who also got sent off. It was silly stuff but hardly worthy of red cards for either player.
Right at the death there was a great chance for PSG but Marquinhos couldn’t connect with a corner under pressure from Bellerin.
In the end, the Gunners can be thankful of a good away point but boy did they ride their luck at times.