With European football resuming after the international break, Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal have all to play for when they clash at the Emirates on Wednesday evening. The two sides are both assured of progress to the round of 16, but this is effectively a winner takes all clash to decide who tops Group A and earns the right to face comparatively easier opposition in the next round
PSG are currently second in Group A, tied on points with the Gunners but losing out on goal difference. Defeat in London on November 23 would all but resign Unai Emery’s side to a runner-up position. But if they gain all three points, or even a draw, PSG could top the group. Their final group game is home against Ludogorets, a match PSG should win comfortably.
Arsenal on the other hand, have a tricky final fixture away at Basel- the Swiss side have proved tough opponents for English opposition in Europe, having beaten the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool in previous clashes. With Basel also sitting at the bottom of the group currently, they may require a result against the Gunners to ensure progress to the Europa League ahead of Ludogorets.
Having won the Ligue 1 title for the past four seasons, it is fair to say that Paris St. Germain are by far the best team in France. Yet they haven’t been able to win the Champions League, the most lucrative competition in club football. Could this be the year that PSG add to the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Intertoto Cup trophies?
Marseille are the only French side to win the Champions League, doing so in 1993 before being relegated from the French first division due to a bribery scandal.
PSG have come close to winning European football’s biggest prize, reaching the semi-finals in 1994-95. They’ve also made it to the quarterfinals in four successive seasons (2012/13 to 2015/16). In those four seasons, they finished top of their group twice and narrowly finished second on the other two occasions when they had Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona in their groups respectively.
Online sports betting site Bovada prices PSG as +120 to finish top of Group A, with Arsenal favourites at -150. Should Paris finish second, they potentially have a much trickier fixture to contend with in the Round of 16.
Paris are priced at +2500 to go all the way and win the Champions League, which makes them ninth-favourites to lift the coveted trophy. Barcelona, pegged at +300, are Champions League favorites.
Losing both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Luiz was a major blow to Paris’ chances of European glory, and this is reflected in the betting odds. Ibrahimovic’s departure is especially damaging due to the sheer number of goals he scored; the Swede bagged 20 goals in 33 European games for PSG.
Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani, however, is in fine form, scoring 11 goals in as many games in Ligue 1 along with four Champions League goals. Cavani scores the bulk of goals for PSG and is six ahead of Lucas Moura, who is second in team scoring. For PSG to advance further than the quarterfinals, they’ll need to find a way to better support their star striker. Cavani has also won the Ligue 1 Player of the Month award twice in a row this season.
Back PSG to win Group A and decide, depending on their round-of-16 opponent, whether to bet on them to win that tie. PSG should make the quarterfinal once again this season, but will need lady luck on their side to progress any further.