Arsenal are about to meet a PSG far from their best form

The Parisians have a new manager and have let a number of key players go

BY Raf Diallo 16:14 Tuesday 13 September 2016, 16:14 13 Sep 2016

Paris Saint-Germain's Qatari president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, left, and new soccer coach Unai Emery, of Spain, answers reporters at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Monday, July 4, 2016. Emery signed a two-year deal and succeeds Laurent Blanc. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

When the draw was made for Champions League Group A, Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain were tipped to do battle for the top two places in that group.

PSG, who have the cash and a growing pedigree in recent seasons, were expected to have the edge.

But as the Champions League clash between the Parisians and Arsenal at the Parc des Princes approaches tonight, PSG are a side very much in transition following a summer overhaul.

If we take form into account, they have made a slow start to a domestic league they have not only dominated since the arrival of Qatari ownership, but also won by a massive 31 points.

But this season's Ligue 1 has seen the club already draw once and lose once from four matches.

A 3-1 loss to Monaco at the end of August was followed up by a disappointing 1-1 draw against Saint-Etienne on Friday.

That has put new manager Unai Emery under early pressure, having replaced Laurent Blanc in the summer.

Emery has European pedigree after leading Sevilla to back-to-back Europa League titles.

PSG's Jese Rodriguez reacts before the French League One soccer match between PSG and Metz at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

However, he is operating a squad that lacks the totemic presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who of course is now at Manchester United. David Luiz, who can be error prone, has gone which leaves just three senior centre-halves in the current squad. That's why young defender and academy graduate Presnel Kimpembe has increasingly gained game-time this season.

Jese Rodriguez has arrived from Real Madrid to play anywhere across the front-line and while he was highly rated as a youngster, he is re-establishing himself after a serious knee injury.

Hatem Ben-Arfa has also joined after resurrecting an inconsistent career at Nice last season and Polish defensive midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak has yet to hit the ground running after following Emery from Sevilla.

Captain and key centre-back Thiago Silva is also just returning to action after a pre-season injury.

PSG are still favourites to go on and win Ligue 1 at a canter but with all the changes at the club, teething problems are likely to crop up.

So it could well be a good time for Arsenal to catch them cold and take control of the group as early as possible before facing FC Basel and Ludogorets.

News

"It's just stupid" - Richard Dunne reflects on a dismissive remark from Man City's former chief executive

15:22 Tuesday 13 September 2016 0 Minute Read
News

More Andre Gray tweets added to his charge sheet with "I hate lightys" the latest

20:42 Saturday 27 August 2016 0 Minute Read
News

WATCH: Ian Madigan scores with a 40-metre drop goal for Bordeaux

16:52 Sunday 4 September 2016 0 Minute Read
News

The Irish St. Leger is the focus of Day Two at the Longines Irish Champions Weekend

10:09 Sunday 11 September 2016 0 Minute Read
Off The Ball

Newsletter

The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week