A draw away at the French champions on match day one was definitely a result I would have taken before kick off on Tuesday night. PSG have had a somewhat shaky start to the season but I was convinced they would raise their game against us and so it proved especially during the first half.
Like pretty much everyone, I was a little surprised at the line up. I mentioned in my preview that I thought we may see Alexis play at centre forward again, there was something about Arsène's pre match comment about Giroud that didn't feel like he was ready to throw him in just yet.
David Ospina came back into the team and that is a selection nobody can dispute. Without David Ospina in the goal last night there is a very good chance that Arsenal would have left the pitch with zero points on the board even if Petr Cech is the better of the two keepers.
It could be argued that Ospina is better suited to Champions league football than the Premier league. European teams are not known for the crossing game or playing for set pieces as we've seen from many English clubs over the years. Ospina is not a commanding physical presence from those situations. His reactions and speed off his line are his strengths and that cannot be ignored.
Our back line had plenty of experience in it yet after 45 seconds or so we were undone. A lot of finger pointing has been in the direction of new boy Shkodran Mustafi but it was Laurent Koscielny who dived into midfield to try and win a tackle, he did not get to the ball in time and was out of the game. Mustafi had to move to the left sided centre back area which should have been Koscielny's territory. Mustafi looked hesitant and in two minds as Aurier sent in an inch perfect curling cross onto the head of Cavani to glance in from close range.
Koscielny out of position
Does that goal happen if Koscielny is in the area of the pitch he should be in? In a tough fixture away from home should Koscielny leave the closing down to one of his midfield players? I don't know, maybe he should have been, especially so early in the game when keeping a solid defensive shape may have been the best course of action. That said I thought Mustafi should not have let Cavani go so easily inside the box.
One down before we have even got going and it could have gone from bad to worse for us. Just as with Southampton on the weekend we came out slowly and also had problems dealing with an aggressive press. I thought we lacked the same energy as the home side and were forced back towards our goal.
Cavani a striker who has been linked with us by the press time and time again had an absolute stinker in front of goal and the Uruguayan missed some very presentable chances but equally me must not take anything away from David Ospina who came out of his goal to thwart the forward on so many occasions.
Serge Aurier was the best player on the pitch and he was a constant menace in that first half. Sticking to the touch line to stretch out the pitch he ran at Monreal and gave the Spaniard problems throughout. To be fair, Alex Iwobi could and perhaps should have done more to help his team mate out.
It took us roughly 15 minutes to cause their back four any sorts of problems and actually get up the pitch. Arsène Wenger was right post match when he said that Alexis did not have enough support in the first half, that changed completely in the second half and we looked a far better team. We matched them on a physical level, no longer allowing them space and time on the ball and we began to stamp our authority on the game.
We did not manage to create many clear chances with our possession but that was largely because they defended much better than we did throughout the game. Mesut Özil was far from his best but 13 minutes from time he showed his quality with a lovely check back from the left of the box. Most players in the world are crossing that ball into the box but Özil does not need to cross the ball, he passes from all angles of the pitch and it was his pass that landed at Iwobi who lashed in a shot that Areola could only manage to push out to Alexis who came in late to scuff a shot off the turf and past the keeper.
Incredibly Alex Iwobi could have won it a few minutes later but his side foot finish was too close to the keeper. A shame really, would have enjoyed a smash and grab victory like that.
There was still time for Ospina to deny PSG and also a couple of red cards for Giroud and Marco Verratti for some unknown reason.
So the draw was very good considering our current performance levels but I would love to know what Arsène has to say about Granit Xhaka's fitness levels at the moment. Our last two games have been against sides who like to force errors, Xhaka is one of the few players in our squad who can receive a pass and give it to a red shirt under pressure in that area of the pitch, yet he is not yet ready to start for some reason. Adjusting to our game? purely fitness reasons? I'd love to hear the managers thoughts on this and I'm pretty sure those questions would have been fired his way if Xhaka was an England player.
Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi and Monreal are four excellent individual defenders on paper but at the moment there is something wrong. Shane Long and Edinson Cavani have had a stupid amount of attempts in 180 minutes. We have not been punished due to bad finishing on both occasions but that will not last, so we need to iron that out and fast.
A very decent result away from home against the strongest team in the group but there is plenty of work to do on the training pitch. Let's hope we can get back up to speed for the next game.
That game is Hull City away on Saturday.