If you’d have offered Arsenal fans a point before kick-off last night against a side with solid recent European pedigree, they’d have snapped your hands off. But while there were many positives to take from the 1-1 draw against Paris Saint-Germain, there were also a few questions to come out of the game.
Ladbrokes News takes a look at five things we learned from Arsenal’s tie in the French capital…
From Boys to Men
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger claimed in the build-up to this fixture that he felt his current squad offers him the best chance of winning the Champions League. There were no boys in his side, instead he said he had a team of men.
And the manner in which they responded to the early goal conceded to the French champions last night would certainly support that statement.
The average age of last night’s starting XI was 26, including a 20-year-old and a 21-year-old. And given that three of the players in that line-up were products of Arsenal’s youth academy, the maturity of Hector Bellerin, Francis Coquelin and Alex Iwobi is certainly something the Gunners can be proud of.
Wenger has strength in depth
The options at Wenger’s disposal from the bench last night were seemingly endless. Petr Cech, Kieran Gibbs, Rob Holding, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny, Olivier Giroud and Lucas Perez were the players the French boss could choose from.
Add to that the eventual return to fitness of Gabriel Paulista, Per Mertesacker, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck, and (at long last) there will be some serious competition for places for the north London club.
Sanchez is not a striker
He’s started four of Arsenal’s opening five games as the main man up-front for the Gunners, but it’s clear for all to see that Alexis Sanchez is a wide player.
His eagerness to get on the ball left a huge gap in Arsenal’s attacking line against PSG, as the Chilean was often dropping deep to get involved with play, and whenever he received the ball in a central area, the French outfit were quick to close him down.
Then Giroud stepped onto the field so Sanchez played on the left, and he was a different player altogether.
If Arsenal are to have a solid season, this is an area Wenger needs to see to sooner rather than later.
The Ox is doing little to win his critics over
Once again Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a worryingly quiet night.
His pre-season form seems like a distant memory, and though we see the occasional flash of brilliance from the former Southampton man, it’s his inconsistency that frustrates Gooners.
With the emergence of Iwobi in recent months and the arrival of Perez, the Ox has it all to do to justify his place in the starting XI.
How do you solve a problem like Giroud?
There’s been plenty of talk about Olivier Giroud’s ongoing omission, as well as a few solutions offered by Ladbrokes News.
For the second year running, Arsenal’s big man up-front saw red in his side’s opening Champions League tie of the season, only this time, we could see it from a mile off.
The Frenchman is yet to start a game for Arsenal this season, and he looked a frustrated figure from the moment he came off the bench last night.
He talked his way into the referee’s book after 25 minutes of being on the pitch, and was then involved in an incident off the ball which led to his second yellow in stoppage time.
Not the best way to stake your claim for a place in the starting XI, Olivier.
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