Arsenal were in action against French champions Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League for supremacy in their group but in truth, both sides underperformed according to their high standards.
Although the game did end 2-2 and could be labelled entertaining, the Gunners played the better football in the closing stages of the 1st half and the beginning of the second half while PSG missed a lot of chances and slightly edged the game in the opening exchanges and towards the end.
Arsenal will be ruing the fact that they did lead in the second half but couldn’t shut out the Paris club. Edinson Cavani broke the deadlock after 18 minutes but the Gunners came back via an Olivier Giroud penalty on the stroke of half-time. The Gunners went on to take the lead after Marquinhos’ poor clearance rebounded off Verratti and went into the net but Lucas Moura’s deflected 77th-minute equaliser brought PSG back on level terms.
A strange statistic, however, pointed out how absurd this match was. This was the first game since Romanian side Unirea Urziceni beat Rangers 4-1 in October 2009 (a game where there were three own goals) has there been more goals in a Champions League game than there were shots on target. Both sides will surely look back at the game and try to figure out what went wrong for them, but in the end, none of the players on both teams showed up on the night.
Here are the player ratings:
Alphonse Areola – 6/10
Areola didn’t have much to do as Arsenal were relatively subdued and as pointed out there were more goals than shots on target. He went the wrong way for the Giroud penalty and there was absolutely nothing he could do about the Verratti own goal.
Maxwell – 6/10
Maxwell prevented much developing on the Arsenal right flank and duly stopped any threat offered by Alexis Sanchez who eventually switched to the opposite flank to try to make an impact. However, he was at fault for the penalty after chasing Ozil and completely losing his man Sanchez as the Chilean won the penalty that Giroud finished off.
Thiago Silva – 6/10
Perhaps Thiago Silva could have done better in the game being PSG’s captain. He almost made a mistake that led to a goal early on with a poor touch after an Arsenal corner. He did get a shot on target from a PSG corner soon after in the opening exchanges, but it was cleared off the line by Kieran Gibbs.
He was at fault for the second Arsenal goal with a poor clearance which eventually led to Marquinho’s rebounded effort that went into the back of the net. Although Arsenal were not at their attacking best, Thiago Silva could have performed better and was a bit off colour and not composed enough at times.
Marquinhos - 6/10
Marquinhos was rather solid against the Gunners and restricted them considerably and was good in the air. Giroud was nullified by him in the game. He was extremely unfortunate to see his clearance ricochet off Verratti and fly into the PSG net but in hindsight, he could have whacked that ball into the stands instead of clearing through the middle.
He gets a 6 just for that, otherwise, he was solid enough.
Thomas Meunier – 6/10
Meunier whipped in a good cross early on for Cavani but Koscielny intervened. He was troubled by Alex Iwobi early on in the first half but recovered in the game to restrict the Arsenal player and as a result there was no significant attack thereafter on PSG’s right flank.
Even after Sanchez shifted to his flank he kept the Chilean at bay. He provided good enough width and performed his defensive duties sufficiently well making some important clearances.
Thiago Motta – 7/10
Perhaps PSG’s best player on the night but many will give that to Lucas Moura. Not many notice the stalwart Motta’s efforts because he is not a flashy player, but he was at his efficient best and the Arsenal midfield couldn’t really do much with him patrolling the midfield and guarding the back four.
He played a number of key passes and a delightful through ball (what a ball that was) to Matuidi which led to the first PSG goal and went about his game dictating from midfield in typical Thiago Motta fashion. He certainly turned back the clock in this game.
Grzegorz Krychowiak – 5/10
Krychowiak was rather woeful in the game and failed to contribute anything significant except to Arsenal’s cause. He lost the ball in midfield after delaying to make a pass and then hurried into the box to make a foolish challenge on Sanchez, however, it must be said that he barely made contact with the Chilean and it was, in fact, a dive that won Arsenal that penalty. He was unlucky but perhaps he should have stood his ground. He must do better and assert himself on games.
Marco Verratti - 6.5/10
This is not the classy Marco Verratti we know. This game was perhaps his most un-influential one in the Champions League. For a player who asserts himself and dictates the midfield with ease, tonight was a night to forget for Verratti. He did not put Cavani through on a couple of occasions when he should have and was stuck in the wrong place while the ball was played in by Arsenal inside his box as Marquinhos struck the ball onto his shin which led to an unfortunate own goal. Poor from an otherwise very classy player.
Blaise Matuidi - 7/10
Matuidi provided some impetus for PSG as he ran with the ball out of the back on numerous occasions. He showed a great turn of pace to bamboozle Mustafi and set up Cavani’s opener which was his highlight of the game. He went close to scoring as well if not for Jenkinson. He ran up and down the pitch contributing defensively as well and had a good game overall.
Edinson Cavani - 7/10
It was a mixed game for Cavani. He could not get to an early cross to head in during the opening exchanges which we have seen him bury before. Then he scored a good goal after lunging to the ball after Matuidi crossed it. He had more chances later on and shot into the stands after which he went through on goal but tried to dink Ospina and failed. He should have been more lethal although he did score a goal.
Lucas Moura - 8/10
Many rated him as the best player on the night and it was rather true, if not for Motta’s overall performance. He was everywhere and was involved in a lot of attacks with some delightful passes. He took a brilliant free kick in the second half that hit the crossbar. Lucas also slid Cavani through for a one-on-one which Cavani made a hash of and then popped up at the far post with a good header for the equalising goal that deflected off Alex Iwobi.
Hatem Ben Arfa – 6/10
The Frenchman replaced Krychowiak just after Verratti’s own goal as PSG looked for the equaliser. Ben Arfa did provide a couple of dangerous crosses into the box, but on the whole, he did not contribute much offensively. It was, however, his corner which led to PSG’s equaliser in the end.
Jese – N/A