Thierry Henry has backed Arsenal to beat PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday (September 20).
The Gunners host PSV on their return to Europe's elite club competition for the first time since 2017. They have been drawn in Group B alongside the Eredivisie side, UEFA Europa League winners Sevilla and Ligue 1 outfit Lens.
Mikel Arteta's men have made a strong start to the season, winning four of five league games. They start their Champions League campaign with an intriguing clash against PSV, who have won all four Eredivisie games this season.
Henry has acknowledged that Peter Bosz's side will be a tricky test for Arsenal but expects them to come out victorious, telling CBS Sports:
“Hopefully, we can have a good game. It’s a tricky tie. Eindhoven isn’t an easy team. But, I imagine, that we can manage to beat them and start well in the competition.”
The two European sides clashed last season in the group stage of the Europa League. Arsenal won 1-0 at the Emirates but suffered a 2-0 defeat at the Phillips Arena.
They head into Wednesday's game as the favourites, given their confident start to the campaign. They have been buoyed by the signing of Declan Rice who will likely make his first Champions League appearance since arriving in the summer.
Rio Ferdinand explains lack of talk about Arsenal's Declan Rice ahead of Champions League debut
Rice became the north Londoners' club record signing in the summer when he joined Arteta's side in a £105 million deal, including add-ons. He has quickly settled at the Emirates, putting in consistent performances.
The 24-year-old scored a memorable 90+6th minute strike in Arsenal's last-gasp 3-1 Premier League win against Manchester United earlier this month. He has made six appearances across competitions since arriving from West Ham United.
Rio Ferdinand has touched on the lack of talk about Rice ahead of the latter's Champions League debut. Ferdinand says that the England international's fine showing dampened doubts over his price tag (via TNT Sports):
"There was a lot said about Declan Rice, by the way, and his transfer and the price of it at the beginning of the season.
"There’s very much less said about it right now, and that tells you this guy is playing at a very good level. He’s operating at a high level, and that’s testament to him."
Rice was eager to play in Europe's elite club competition, having not done so during his seven years at West Ham. He said during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, when there was talk of a potential move to a Champions League participant (via ESPN)
“I’ve been playing consistently well for my club, and I feel like I really want to keep pushing. I see my friends here who are playing Champions League and for big trophies."
The English midfielder captained West Ham to UEFA Europa Conference League glory last season. He bagged one goal and one assist in 11 games in Europe's third-tier competition.