Scouting Report: PSG v Arsenal

We start our Champions League Group A campaign with a trip to the Parc de Princes to face Paris Saint Germain on Tuesday night.

Ahead of the game, tactical expert Michael Cox examines our opponents and reveals their strengths, dangermen and the areas to target.

The manager

The appointment of Unai Emery, who replaced Laurent Blanc in the summer, was a clear sign that PSG want to progress in Europe. Emery is a European specialist, having taken Sevilla to three consecutive Europa League victories.

The Spaniard's tactical nous will be crucial if PSG are to lift their first Champions League. Renowned as a hard taskmaster with incredible attention-to-detail, his plans for individual opponents are often extremely effective.


Emery has continued with the 4-3-3 system used by Laurent Blanc last season, and largely familiar players, too. The big change is up front, where Zlatan Ibrahimovic departed after four hugely-prolific campaigns (three of them as Ligue 1's top scorer), meaning Edinson Cavani now leads the line having grown accustomed to a wide role. His finishing this season, however, has been inconsistent.

A notable part of PSG's gameplan this season has been pushing the full-backs forward. Right-back Serge Aurier attacks with great power, while Laywin Kurzawa boasts an excellent left-footed delivery.


PSG can count upon one of the most impressive, cohesive midfield trios in the competition, now into its fifth season together.

Thiago Motta sits at the base of the midfield, providing strength in front of the defence and reliable passing towards the flanks. To his right, Marco Verratti drops into very deep positions and sprays more ambitious diagonal passes, while Blaise Matuidi shuttles forward energetically into left-sided attacking positions. Arsenal will need both discipline and physicality to cope.


Angel Di Maria endured a disappointing campaign in the Premier League with Manchester United, but the Argentine is a wonderful talent with an eye for the big occasion - he was outstanding in Real Madrid's 4-1 Champions League final victory over Atletico two years ago.

He's performed well in France, usually playing on the left of a front three. He can dribble, create and score goals too, although he's very left-footed, often playing the ball with the outside of his left foot when forced right.

Areas to target

With inspirational captain Thiago Silva only just back in training after injury and David Luiz returning to Chelsea, PSG's centre-back combination could be an area to target. Silva, who will make his first appearance of the season if he starts, is likely to line up alongside the 22-year-old Marquinhos. While he is highly promising, Arsenal should look to test him and Silva from an early stage.


More polls and quizzes to follow soon

See Full List

Fixtures & Results

Premier League
Ticket Info