Connect in the back of the net

Arsenal managed to begin their Champions League campaign with a hard-fought draw with Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night.

Although Arsenal were lambasted for their lacklustre display in the French capital, they now sit atop the Group A.

Here are O-Posts’ five talking points from their opening European fixture of the 2016/17 campaign.


Should the system really be blamed?

Arsene Wenger, much to the dismay of Arsenal supporters, started a three-winger front three against the Ligue 1 champions and, much to his dismay, his strategy failed – again – as the Gunners struggled to create chances.

However, during a few bright moments when Alexis Sanchez drifted to the left and Alex Iwobi plugged the hole, they looked threatening, but those moments did not last long as nobody boasted the crucial ball retention ability in the third half.

Wenger’s decision to play three wingers should hardly be blamed as it was the players, who could not bring their manager’s brainchild to life.


Can Arsenal keep hold of David Ospina for long?

Many pundits laughed at Wenger’s decision to start David Ospina, especially in light of his gaffes that led to a 3-2 defeat to Olympiakos last season.

However, the French manager claimed the last laugh as the Colombian ‘keeper produced a five-star performance, keeping out numerous efforts from the PSG shirts.

From prompting the Edinson Cavani misses – especially the fourth – through his fantastic reflex and positioning to denying Serge Aurier after a Laurent Koscielny-Shkodran Mustafi mix-up, the Arsenal custodian proved that he is able enough to inherit the gloves from veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech or perhaps, push through a move away from the London club next summer.


Will Arsenal finally top their group?

Arsenal finishing second in the group stages has always been one of the major reasons for their failure in the elite European tournament, but having claimed a point at Parc des Princes, they are now in contention to top their group finally.

They already sit atop the Group A, ahead of PFC Ludogorets Razgrad, Basel, and PSG, and they cannot afford to again finish second if they aim at progressing past the first knockout stage.


Did Alex Iwobi really have a nightmare?

Although many censured Alex Iwobi, he produced a performance that only furthers the fact that he will remain a mainstay in the club for years to come.

He seemed lively, dropping back to help Nacho Monreal in defence – at least during the first few minutes.

However, he often killed the buildup with a bad touch or a bad pass.

With Mesut Ozil dropping deep, he enjoyed a lot of the ball in the centre, but that only added to Arsenal being ineffective in the PSG half.

Although the player himself admitted his poor showing through Snapchat, the fact that the Ashburton Grove club did not have a better option on the bench underlines their state.

At this stage of his career, though, he should not face harsh criticism, especially from the club’s own fans.


Should Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain follow in the footsteps of Jack Wilshere?

At 20, Iwobi still has a few more months to polish his skills, but the 23-year-old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s time as a future prospect is running out.

He should already be working toward attaining his peak, but he still is struggling for consistency.

Though injuries have derailed his progress for far too long, the club may not afford to wait for him to mature as a footballer.

Given the Calum Chambers and Jack Wilshere loan deals, it is evident that the club are no longer willing to offer chances to players whose progress has stagnated.

By the looks of things, Oxlade-Chamberlain may largely benefit from a loan deal, preferably to a club where he will enjoy a lot of freedom on the ball.

The player seemed willing to put in a shift, as evidenced by his defensive contribution on Tuesday night, and a loan move to a top-flight English club may be what he needs to fulfill his potential.


Written by Praveen Paramasivam

Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen

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