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Champions League

PSG 1-1 Arsenal: In-Season Form Quest Continues As Clubs See Red

PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 13: Olivier Giroud of Arsenal receives a red card from referee Viktor Kassai of Hungary during the UEFA Champions League group phase match between Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal FC at Parc des Princes on September 13, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

We told you that the match between Unai Emery’s Paris Saint-Germain and Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal was going to be a match that would determined where their form was. The verdict: out to dinner. PSG and Arsenal traded goals from Edinson Cavani (1′) and Alexis Sanchez (78′) in a 1-1 draw that saw Olivier Giroud and Marco Verrati sent off in stoppage time on second yellow cards. Cavani’s goal came in 44 seconds into the match, but, as has been the case for this season, his poor finishing touch kept Arsenal in contention for a majority of proceedings.

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Nonetheless, both teams will be missing their key men in Verrati and Giroud when they face Ludogorets Razgrad and FC Basel respectively, two clubs that also played to a 1-1 draw in Basel, Switzerland. Gunners center back Laurent Koscielny is asking for his men to provide some continuity on Giroud’s absence.

“It’s like during the game against Southampton. We slept, and we need to change this in the future,” Koscielny told BT Sport. “Because every time we start 1-0 down, it’s difficult to win. We need to be strong from the first minute to the end and to play our football. I think during the game we played well, but if we start like this it’s difficult.

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“It’s a good point, but we came here with our ambition and we wanted to have the three points,” he said. “But when you start like this it’s difficult to come back during the game. But we tried, we played football and I think we played well. Maybe in the final third we didn’t find the good ball to score earlier during the game. But we came back to 1-1, and it was against PSG. It’s a big team, it was away, so I think it’s a good point [going into] the other games in the group stage.”

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Aside from the goals conceded, backup goalkeepers Alphonse Areola and David Ospina did a commendable job filling in for Kevin Trapp and Petr Cech and should factor into their next UEFA Champions League contests later this month. Here are the standings for Group A after Match Day 1.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 Advance to knockout phase
2 England Arsenal 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
3 Switzerland Basel 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 Transfer to Europa League
4 France Paris Saint-Germain 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1

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