We could all see that Arsenal were totally outplayed in the first half in Paris, and even Arsene Wenger admitted it (although he didn’t mention the starting line up!). But he was pleased that the team showed their experience and didn’t panic, and even managed to come back into it in the second half.
Le Prof said after the game: “I feel overall we played against a good Paris Saint-Germain team, who started much stronger than us. They played at a high pace, but even in the first half I think we were in trouble, mainly when we lost the ball on the counter-attack because they pressed well. Even in the first half you could see that if we managed to keep the ball a bit better we would be dangerous – we created chances. In the first half, our midfield played a bit too far from Alexis. In the second half we played higher, and after the kick-off in the second half we had a good chance to come back, which we did. In the end we have experience in the Champions League and we got a good point.
“When you start so badly against a team of that quality you need experience. If you are too young, you can be caught. I thought that we didn’t panic, and overall we were resilient enough, and the resilience comes through experience. I told the players at half-time that if we keep playing we will come back, because we could see if we had better possession we could score goals. Overall, I think it was a good result to come here and not lose and pick up a point.”
It was definitely a good result considering the performance, but surely we can’t afford to let every good team over-run us before we decide to start playing. That could have been a Barcelona-style massacre if Cavani hadn’t been so wasteful and Ospina hadn’t been so imperious in goal.
As for the dual sending off at the end, of course Wenger didn’t see it, but he is assured that Olivier Giroud did nothing to deserve it. He concluded: “The ball was on the other side, I did not see what happened. I think the first yellow card [for Giroud] was very harsh already, it wasn’t a foul. The second, he tells me he has done nothing at all and Olivier is honest so I believe him. And Verratti told me as well that he has done nothing, so I said look, ‘go together to see the referee and tell him you did nothing’.”
I can go along with that, but the fact is that if Giroud hadn’t annoyed the ref into getting his earlier yellow then he may have stayed on the pitch a little bit longer. A top professional does not argue with the ref over every little thing does he? There can only be one winner in that situation….