In what is undoubtedly the marquee matchup of Round 1, Arsenal and PSG meet after each team failed to impress over the weekend. While Arsenal managed three points after a late penalty, PSG could only scrape a draw against Saint-Étienne and only have seven points from their first four matches. However, The Parisians will have home field advantage and an extra day's rest, having played on Friday. Plus, there is a sense that after four straight Ligue 1 titles, the squad is solely focused on progressing further in Europe. This matchup could be a turning point for one of these teams - will PSG's Edinson Cavani have his first dominant match against a nervy Arsenal defense or will Alexis Sanchez shine in Paris?
PSG are gearing up to win a fifth Ligue 1 title that feels almost like a foregone conclusion, even with Zlatan’s departure. Again, the measure of their season will be how well they do in Europe. To that end, they’ve brought in former Sevilla manager Unai Emery who won three Europa League titles during his tenure. They’ve also added to the squad, adding Jese Rodriquez from Real Madrid, Hatem Ben Arfa, and defensive midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak, among others. While none of them are superstars, it does appear that their aim is to create a more cohesive squad, instead of following Madrid’s Galacticos model.
With Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez coming in to cover long term deficits at center back and forward, Arsene Wenger has no excuses left. While getting out of their group in the Champions League is now routine, the Gunners have exited in the second round for six consecutive years. Much like their EPL title drought, there is a perception that Arsenal are in a rut - incredibly talented, but struggling to reach the heights you’d expect from a squad of their talent. With this being the final year of Wenger’s contract, however, perhaps there will be a sense that being very good is no longer good enough.
Despite being overshadowed by Zlatan for most of his PSG career, Cavani has never scored fewer than 25 goals in a season for the club.
After a disappointing season at Manchester United, Di María scored 15 goals for PSG last season.