By Chris Harris at Emirates Stadium
Arsenal are likely to face group winners in the last 16 of the Champions League after a night of mixed fortunes in north London.
Edinson Cavani converted Blaise Matuidi’s pass from close range to give Paris Saint-Germain the lead, but the Gunners ended a tough first half on a high when Olivier Giroud rolled in a penalty after Alexis was brought down by Grzegorz Krychowiak.
Luck was on Arsenal’s side when Marco Verratti scored a freakish own goal to give the hosts the lead, but it turned against them when Alex Iwobi diverted Lucas’ header past David Ospina to haul PSG level.
A 2-2 draw isn’t a bad result at first glance but it means Arsenal need Ludogorets to avoid defeat against PSG in December - while they get what they need in Basel.
Either way, Arsene Wenger’s side will take their place in the last 16 of the competition. And, ultimately, that’s all that matters.
SETTING THE SCENE
There was nothing complicated about the task facing Arsenal as PSG rolled into town. Win, and top spot was guaranteed.
But that would be easier said than done against the French champions, who missed some glaring chances when these sides met on Group A’s opening night.
Alexis’ late goal saw the Gunners escape with a creditable 1-1 draw in Paris. But they knew that PSG would be uncatchable if they left the Emirates with a win.
Wenger made four changes from the weekend trip to Old Trafford, recalling David Ospina in goal, Kieran Gibbs at left back and Iwobi on the flank.
Giroud was also back, fresh from scoring his eighth goal in his last nine attempts on target. He led the line, with Alexis shuttling over to the right.
PSG, so used to making the running in Ligue 1, had no intention of sitting back here.
In an echo of the first meeting, Cavani stole a yard on the Arsenal defence to meet an early right-wing cross. This time he couldn’t get any purchase on his header.
Cavani did get something on a corner from the same flank and the home side were indebted to Gibbs, who kicked the ball off the line after it had ricocheted off Thiago Silva.
Arsenal, forced to counter-punch, were crowded out when they went forward. Iwobi threatened with a marauding run from left to centre, but delayed his shot after drifting past two defenders and was dispossessed.
With Matuidi and Lucas in advanced positions, Arsenal had their hands full at the back. And it was Matuidi who did lasting damage, turning smartly onto a ball into feet to leave Shkodran Mustafi in his wake.
Matuidi rolled the ball across goal for Cavani to slide in and score.
Arsenal had a problem - they had to keep their shape while finding a way to push PSG back. For a while they managed it, Aaron Ramsey wriggling into the box only to be stopped by a strong challenge.
Bonafide chances were hard to find but there was salvation on the stroke of half-time when Giroud won the ball on the edge of the PSG box, Mesut Ozil played in Alexis and he was tripped by Krychowiak.
Giroud slotted in the spot-kick to haul Arsenal level.
Arsenal came out with a spring in their step, but PSG engineered the first decent chance of the second half.
Laurent Koscielny ran into trouble and conceded a free-kick which Lucas curled onto the frame of the goal. Ospina could only stand, watch and hope.
Giroud had a shot blocked at the other end and, with the game stretched for perhaps the first time, Arsenal got lucky.
Carl Jenkinson played the ball in from the right and Ramsey couldn’t connect properly, but the clearance hit Verratti on the shins and flew back past Alphonse Areola. Fortunate, but a consequence of Arsenal's more positive approach.
PSG knew a 2-2 draw would give them the edge in Group A, and back they came. Cavani fired wide and then screamed for a penalty against Koscielny. Nothing given.
But the visitors soon had their own slice of luck. Lucas headed goalwards from a corner and the feintest of touches from Iwobi took the ball beyond Ospina as he prepared to grab it.
Cavani could have won it but failed to chip Ospina as he ran through on goal. And, try as they might, Arsenal couldn’t find rouse themselves for a grandstand finish.
Referee: Dr. Felix Brych
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