This was the time when it seems like an unnecessary risky decision for arsenal which turn out to be the best for the situation. Arsenal were lagging from a long time in Paris but but still lamented constantly by the point stolen from their awkward tie of the section, and with David Ospina’s reputation as boosted as Edinson Cavani’s was worn-out. The locals are getting used to their Uruguayan’s recklessness. Ospina, on the other hand, has rarely affirmed such a positive impact on his own team’s display.
In the context of the outbreak of opportunities disillusioned by his goalkeeper, either parried, choked, or blocked, Arsène Wenger could validate his strategy, seemingly speculate in pre‑season that the Colombian will begin in Champions League ties.
He leaped from his line to suffocate at the feet of those Paris players plundering into the penalty area, whether Serge Aurier or Cavani. There were fine touches to rebound notwithstanding efforts from Ángel Di María, and even a enthusiasm to safekeeping from his box to nod away through-balls squeezed afar Arsenal’s backline. Ospina accomplished all this regardless of acknowledging after 42 seconds as his team reasonably dallied from the outset. Cavani had established his header vigorously into the corner from Aurier’s magnificent cross on the charge with Shkodran Mustafi seemingly distracted by the company of a second ball on the pitch, albeit on the detached touchline. The marking was more of a dispute.
For a few, tempting minutes, Cavani, a player who had shuddered for so long in the tail of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, must have cheered in the faith this would be lastly be his coming of age as PSG’s central striker. He could surely never have envisioned retiring at the end troubled by the frightening memory of Ospina. As Rio Ferdinand admitted in his role as a analyst, had Ibrahimovic featured in the Uruguayan’s stead, “Arsenal would have been run out of town”.
The view of the ball repeatedly dwindling to Cavani in front of goal nearly felt harsh by the end. His best opportunity to purge his fears had come just after the half-hour mark as Nacho Monreal glided on to a Marco Verratti through-ball and flourished only in poking the ball away from Laurent Koscielny and into the striker’s path. He bordered around the goalkeeper, for one of the solitary all night, but was unbalanced as the ball ran across him and could only spear the shot into the side-netting with the goal gaping. His evening worsened completely afterwards. He saw the broken man at the final whistle.
There was a miserable control on his ribcage inside the six-yard box before the break, and a progression of one on ones where Ospina’s zeal to head out at pace appeared to aggravate indecision in the forward’s line of attack. Every time he had time to think, he freaked out. The final miss, nine minutes from time, had the locals plaguing madly from the stands. And when asked Wenger said: “I’d tell him to keep looking for chances, and perhaps to relax a touch. He was actually good tonight, Cavani, and very effective in terms of his pressing. It would be interesting to see how much ground he covered and how many sprints he had.”
PSG needed more than sheer diligence. There is self-loathing at this club following the summer arrival of Unai Emery, and the leave-takings of the charismatic Ibrahimovic and David Luiz. They had so craved for a victory here to defend the manager’s appointment – as a figure deceptively likelier to bring a European trophy – in progression to Laurent Blanc, though Emery ended as flustered and anxious by his team’s insufficiency as his players.
Their miserable finishing was always expected to hurt them in the end and, when Mesut Özil fabricated an ingenious pass – one of his few eye-catching influences all night – to find the exceptional Alex Iwobi 12 minutes from time, the French were half-finished. The youngster’s shot was hard-pressed away by Alphonse Areola but only as far as Alexis Sánchez, loitering flouted near the penalty shot. His finish was ardent and Arsenal had their point.