Champions League French Preview
Written by Zach Wu
PSG vs Arsenal
PSG have made their home a fortress, having lost just once in 39 home games (W25 D13).
They are also strong in the group stages, recently winning 17 out of their 24 group game (D3 L4)
Their defense was also solid last time season, conceding just 1 goal in 6 Champions’ League group games.
Arsenal have history on their side, beating PSG in the 93/93 Cup Winners Cup semi-final, with the Gunners winning 2-1 on aggregate.
Arsenal are also unbeaten in their last 12 away games against French clubs, winning their last 7 (W8 D4).
Arsenal have been strong in the group stages too, advancing to the knockouts for the last 13 seasons.
For Paris, they have a defensive crisis with Serge Aurier, Maxwell and Javier Pastore all definitely out while Thiago Sliva and Layvin Kurzawa are doubts.
For Arsenal, Danny Welback, Per Mertesacker, Carl Jenkison and Gabriel Paulista are forced to sit out this clash.
Writer’s Prediction: Paris have not been on a good run of form, having been struggling to adapt to Emery’s more structured approach. They have not performed extremely badly but have been extremely unlucky not to get more in the games when they played indifferently. Their injury crisis is also extremely worrying and may be unlocked against the intelligence of Ozil, the brute force of Giroud or the direct Sanchez. Arsenal have edged out wins of late, playing a disconnected system. It is extremely wing orientated but the lack of connections has made it difficult for Arsenal to get the ball back into the centre (zone 14), or the half spaces. Arsenal might do well against a depleted Paris side. 2-1 Arsenal
Form Guide: Paris (D L W W W) Arsenal (W W D L W)
credit The Stadium Guide
Spurs vs Monaco
This is manager Mauricio Pochettino’s debut season in this competition and he will be aiming to better Spurs last outing in this competition, a quarter final exit against Real Madrid in 2011.
They have been deadly against French clubs too, winning all 4 of their home games against French clubs in European competitions.
The key may be free flowing attacking football, having scored 18 goals in the group stage of the 10/11 edition of this competition.
Monaco will be looking for revenge, having lost 5-1 on aggregate against Spurs in the Europa League last season.
However, it may be difficult, having won just 1 of their last 4 away games against English opposition.
They might have to be more lethal in front of goal too, having failed to score in 8 of their last 12 Champions’ League games.
Their defence may be the key to victory here, having just conceded 1 goal in their last 8 group stage games in this competition
For Spurs, everyone is fit bar Danny Rose.
For Monaco, Thomas Lemar, Danijel Subasic, Benjamin Mendy Guido Carrillo and Kylian Mbappe are all set to miss out due to injury.
Writer’s Prediction: Spurs have mixed dreadful performances with a great performance against Stoke away. It has not been easy for them, having lost Dembele to suspension, an intelligent energetic player who can recover lost balls quickly and link the midfield and attack. His return will be a boost here. Monaco have been on song of late, sitting deep and hitting on the counter, best exemplified against their last outing against Lille whom against they broke from deep effectively with lighting pace. With both teams favouring transitions, this could be an edgy game until a goal opens things up. 1-1.
Form Guide: Spurs (W D W D W) Monaco (W W W W W)
Lyon vs Zagreb
Lyon would be eagerly anticipating this clash, having trounced Zagreb in the 11/12 group stages 7-1 in Zagreb, their biggest win to date in the Champions League.
They would be looking to better their last season finish, last in their group.
Lyon must not be complacent, having lost 5 of their last 7 games in this competition (D1 L1)
Zagreb have a terrible record, having lost 19 of their past 23 Champions League games (W2 D2).
They are also on a 9 game losing streak in the Champions League, with 31 goals conceded.
Their defence has been leaky too, having not kept a clean sheet in their last 21 games in this competition.
For Lyon, Clement Grenier, Christophe Jallet, Mathieu Valbuena, Nabil Fekir and Alexander Lacazette are all out injured
For Zagreb, Marko Leskovic is injured, Leonardo Sigali and Petar Stojanovic are suspended and Arijan Ademi is on a doping ban.
Writer’s Prediction: Although Lyon have struggled in Ligue 1, with poor spacing and lethargic off the ball movements, this should be a walk in the park for them. Zagreb is from an extremely poor (and corrupt) league where their best players are poached to develop elsewhere. The sheer quality of the home team plus the added benefit of playing at home should be too much for Zagreb to handle, despite the losses of key players. 3-0 Lyon
Form Guide: Lyon (L L W W L) Zagreb (L W W W D)
How will the English sides fare against the French teams? Let us know in the comments below!
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featured image by PSGMAG.NET