Arsenal 2-1 PSG Match Report

Captain Kolo Toure leads out Arsenal against PSG in the Emirates CupFlamini & Bendtner win it for Arsenal

Arsenal scored a solid 2-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in their first Emirates Cup game at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal lead the match 2-0 after goals from French midfielder Mathieu Flamini and young Danish striker Niklas Bendtner, before PSG pulled a goal back through Peguy Luyindula and Bendtner missed a late penalty kick. The result has given the club every chance to actually win the Emirates Cup, despite Spanish side Valencia scoring a convincing 2-0 win over Italian champions Inter Milan.

I did manage to catch the Arsenal match on Arsenal TV and so rather than just including a report of the game I thought I would provide a bit of an analysis of Arsene Wenger’s sides performance against PSG. If you’re after a full match report then check out the official Emirates Cup homepage here.

Flamini broke the deadlock just before half-timeFirst-Half Analysis

The starting team proved to be far different than the one I was hoping Wenger would pick in yesterday’s post and looked like this:

(4-4-2 L-R) Manuel Almunia; Gael Clichy; Kolo Toure; Philippe Senderos; Bacary Sagna; Abou Diaby; Denilson; Cesc Fabregas; Mathieu Flamini; Robin van Persie; Niklas Bendtner.

Arsenal really struggled to get going in the first half as PSG dominated possession with their quick passing and general speed. As always, Clichy was outstanding at the back but the central pairing of Toure and Senderos struggled on numerous occasions to deal with PSG’s attacking pair of Pauleta and Luyindula. Almunia made a couple of smart stops and Sagna looked decent, if unspectacular playing at right back.

It was in midfield where Arsenal’s real problems lay. Fabregas was his usual self, but I was very disappointed with Denilson’s contribution. His touches and passing were very sloppy and he looked distinctively lightweight on the ball. Playing with Diaby and Flamini on the flanks gave the side no width at all and meant that PSG could just jam up the centre corridor, restricting supply to the likes of van Persie and Bendtner.

Whilst van Persie has the natural ability to make space and create chances, it was obvious to me that Bendtner needs the ball delivered to him accurately to create chances for others. The couple of times he did get good service he made chances, one of which was expertly finished by Flamini just before half time. It was an undeserved lead, but the manner of the goal was a fresh change for Arsenal supporters. An early cross from the left from Clichy was chested down by Bendtner and Flamini struck home on the volley. 1-0 to Arsenal, just before the break.

Denilson disappointed me against PSGSecond Half Analysis

Wenger made five substitutions at half time and also proceeded to alter Arsenal’s formation from the usual 4-4-2 to a more dynamic 4-5-1. The team that ran out in the second half looked like this:

(4-5-1 L-R): Manuel Almunia; Armand Traore; Phillipe Senderos; William Gallas; Justin Hoyte; Gael Clichy; Denilson; Alexander Hleb; Abou Diaby; Emmanuel Eboue; Niklas Bendtner.

Things were completely different for Arsenal in the second half. Clichy and Eboue were moved to the wide midfield positions and provided the side with the width that the lacked in the first half. Both Traore and Hoyte provided consistent overlapping runs for the midfielders and a number of good crosses were delivered into the box as a result. Diaby moved to his natural central position and dominated the game but, as he did in the first half, Denilson struggled.

The most promising aspect of the second half was the performance of Hleb. He was deployed centrally as support for Bendtner, and provided some scintillating runs. He looked far more comfortable in a central role than out on the right and hopeful Wenger will take note of this and use him there more consistently. Another highlight of the half was the second Arsenal goal from Bendtner. It was a real Bolton-esque effort as Bendtner challenged the PSG keeper in the air from Denilson’s corner before the ball deflected back to him and he forced it home. I can’t remember the last time Arsenal have scored such a scrappy goal and personally, I loved it.

I thought that Gallas brought real stability to the backline. He was excellent and seemed to calm down the sometimes panicky Senderos. Also, is it me or has Senderos gained a yard of pace since last season? And although Arsenal did concede a soft goal, I thought it was Denilson’s inability to track back rather than the efforts of the defence that caused the problem.

Late on, Arsenal won a penalty thanks to a superb bit of dribbling from Hleb, but Bendtner saw his poor shot saved. I thought it was great to see him step up and take some responsibility but he will be most disappointed with his weak effort. Arsenal played out the final minutes without any dramas and the match ended 2-1. Job done, and a positive performance in most respects.

Arsene Wenger was pleased with Arsenal’s win over PSGWenger happy with Arsenal win

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said in the post-match press conference that he was happy with his side’s performance and enjoyed the opportunity to try some different ideas during the game:

“You can learn about the different associations in your teams. Does Denilson work with Diaby, can Eboue play in right midfield? You can risk things you can’t in the Premiership or at least risk things all at the same time when you can only risk one or two in the Premiership.”

There’s no question that Wenger did try some new things in this game and some of them came off. I thought playing Hleb centrally worked wonders and pushing Clichy and Eboue forward also came off. There is also no doubt that Denilson will work with Diaby but as I said earlier, I thought Denilson was – in most facets – below par against PSG. Hopefully he can improve if given another chance against Inter Milan.

Diaby was outstanding when deployed centrally against PSGNew winger still required

It is clear that playing Diaby and Flamini are not effective when deployed out wide and hopefully Wenger will realise this. Flamini did well as a defensive full-back in the 2005/06 season but there would be few Arsenal fans out there who would like to see him played on the wing. As for Diaby, his second half performance made it clear that his best position is central midfield.I still think that Arsenal is lacking a wide midfielder and Wenger did not rule out the possibility of this happening:

“If I find the right player, I will take him. If I find two, I will do it. But it is not compulsory. If we do not get them, we do not get them. We have enough quality. That will not be an excuse if I do not get a player, not to compete with the top teams.”

I agree with Wenger in part but I do not agree with his statement that “we have enough quality”. Regular readers will know that I believe Arsenal needs an experienced wide player and if one is not brought in then the responsibility being placed on the young players may be a little bit too much.

What do you think?

Have your say on Arsenal’s performance against PSG by leaving a comment.



  1. The defensive pair is still a problem. Which combination? I think Gallas/Toure don’t seem to be working, yesterday Gallas/Sendy looked good. If only Sendy can improve on his pace then from what I saw Gallas/Sendy could be the trick. Match after match Toure seem to have fallen a bit, don’t know what is happening but I must confess that apart from the first half, Sendy showed some improvement. Is it a new sign of things to happen with our defence? We’ll see if the two are put together once more in today’s match. All that Sendy need is a yard of pace and an experienced partner on his side to give him confidence. His physic is awesome and his heading ability is beyond question. Gallas also showed some leadership qualities on the field. I think Bendtner will also come good, he’s full of confidence, strong and his holding ability is okay. With a little sharpness, we might be having a new goal poaching ‘signing’ on our hands. He’s being given chances and Bendtner seem to be relishing them. He did well against Salzburg but for a goal. I think Bendtner and Ade away against the long ball and physical teams will give us plan B.

  2. our squad is really thin, come on we had diaby and flamini as the wide men.

    i love wenger but come on, he is blind sometimes, luka modric name has popped up in the papers.
    but i told you lot, if the price is right he will go for players, but he is really stubborn about what he feels how he values the player and thinks if its a good investment, i guess he does not want the reyes situation again, spending big money.

    but again alessandro mancini, ricardo quaresma, elano, royston drenthe, luka modric are players we should aim for. we can afford them we can get them.

    but honestly i think he waiting for the reyes transfer then he will buy, those bastards at real are just pissing around now.

    anyways spanish, am off to the emirates stadium today to watch the matches, i will give you a good report later on or tommorow morning.

    il send you lot some pics if you want too.

  3. Still need that winger.. AW does like to bleed his young talent on the wings to get them more comfortable taking players on. Diaby, Fabby, Denilson to name just a few. As for Toure, I actually think he has looked sharp and as committed as ever. Im glad Sendy is showing further improvement, but I dont want Djourou to go out on loan. Encouraging words from AW too.. renewed hope we may sign a winger yet…

  4. I Agee with the above comments. We need a Winger who sometimes become a bomber,and always a threat to the opposite side.

    Winger has to be fast to close this gap.

  5. i was watching some golden moments on arsenal tv

    and i was watching marc overmars, this guy is a legend, he was scoring for fun at times, this is the kind of player we need right now in the squad.

    he was scoring goals, and defence’s didnt know how to mark him

  6. oh yeah, am going to be in the new training tracksuit the blue one

    indian guy, short spikey hair

    in the orange quadrant, block 93 upper tier

    row 26 seat 82



    sam nix

  7. will do my best GS.. To anyone who hasnt joined Arsenal TV Online, I would highly suggest doing so. You can log on and listen to the commentary of live matches, as well as rolling action screen shots.. its not live TV, but its great when the games arent on.. I swear by it. Not to mention more highlights than you could ever want to see..

  8. yeah i watched arsenal play PSG ,and it was wonderful with clichy & eboue on the wings in the second half but i agree with my comrades about the need to sign anew natural winger .

  9. It’s always nice to win a match but in a pre-season friendly,the most important thing isn’t the result,It’s getting a competitive edge.
    Wenger said this yesterday after the game”We have the potential to do it,”he said of the Gunners”chances of recruiting further,following their 2-1 Emirates cup victory over PSG,”If I find two,I will do it,”
    So we could be getting 1 or 2 more in.So who do we think they will be and where will we play them!It’s been much touted that we need a wide man,so who would the second be?
    Your thoughts!

  10. I think a wide man is just what Arsenal need to get goals flowing again. Mancini would be a good buy. Also a new solid defender like Ledley King or some-one who plays the way Campbell used to. Our main player needed though is on the wing!!! Has any one thought of Deco.

  11. What a game and what a goal,This really shows that we are the comeback Kings.Superb goal by Van Persie.
    What do you guys think of todays game?

  12. I think Wenger’s comments are an indication of more signings and with Reyes going this week (Lyon or Athletico for 8m) especially so.
    With Reyes replaced, I think our squad (with Randall, Traore and possibly Gibbs) is good enough. We may have a small group of players but more so than any team in the premiership we will be a squad and not a first eleven. I’d be surprised if we play many games back to back next season with the same eleven and this fluidity excites me (as I guess it does Wenger).

  13. Good game. Hleb was brilliant, in a Bergy-style withdrawn forward… really sharp and everything positive we did, he was involved. Eboue, though not my choice for right wing, was very impressive. The combination of Eboue/Sagna looked solid. Great link-up play, and used the width well. on the opposite wing was Kieran Gibbs. He gave a good effort, but needs a season on loan. RVP’s goal has left me moist.. enough said. He should have had apenalty as he was taken down from behind 6 yards from the goal.. Halsey missed that one, somehow. Think he didnt want to have to give a red card.. However, I found myself frustrated to no end for long periods. Inter were obviouslt just starting their pre-season, and were missing most of their name players. Major deja vu as they went up 1-0 on what was basically their first effort. AAARGGGGHHHH! I honestly think we are cursed sometimes.. We dominated long periods of play, and had numerous chances. The boys showed their resolve and spirit and you could tell we were going to win this one. Overall(very AW..), I think we played our game well and were the better team. Very pleased to leave with the win and no injuries. On a lighter note, Materazzi was booed and hissed evrytime he was bnear the ball. 2 of his first touches ended up in passes to absolutely no one. Prat…

  14. great game today and what a goal from RVP!!! Hleb was amazing and not a bad start for Gibbs. Its good to know we have won the Emirates Cup and that will spur us on to win more titles. Eboue did better then i expected he would on the wing. 1 more signing needed, in midfield and send o few youth players on loan so we can see how they cope with first team pressure.

  15. just come back from london to leicester, damn what a day…

    anyways the game was good, van persie well i told the geeza next to me, watch he will do the turn and score and what did he do….

    it was a good game, we was all over them really, they had one chance and well they buried it, sloppy defending.

    but watching from the stands, people are happy to just be in the top four.

    but hleb look good, i think the left hand side is where he can play.

    traore is brillant, this guy is so strong on the ball.

    fabregas, this guy is a gem of a player, he controled the midfield and i was just watchin him for like 10 mins and he was everywhere centrally controlling the game, dacourt was nowhere

    eboue, well this guy loves diving, he can be frustrating but he is good on the wing, needs to get more crosses in.

    bendtner got a good touch and can hold play.

    sagna, well he is good defensivly but forward play he needs to improve but he strong, no nonsense fullback.

    kieran gibbs the crowd loved him, he worked hard and well the best bit was when he just toke out materazzi.

    but good day overall, robin van persie is worshipped all over emirates now.

  16. I fink Everybody played fantastic today and we will be looking forward to the Amsterdam Tournament with a lot of cofidence. Gibbs is one to look for in the future. Good Crowd as well, the fans were excellent. We saw a new side of Hleb today which i hope stays, he was evrywhere. The more i see fabregas play, the more i worship him. He is the man that controls midfield. We should win the Amsterdam Tournament if we play the way we did today.

  17. “hleb i think should stay on the left, he caused more damage to inter then”

    realistically then shabz, do you think we should rotate hleb/rosicky as cutting in left sided midfielders and get another wide man to compete with walcott/eboue on the right?

    arsene is almost certainly going to buy another player or two but with hleb/rosicky/eboue/walcott, i am actually happy with our wings. Great players can come of age at 18, rooney, ronaldo, fabregas, messi all did, why not Walcott? And Eboue just seems better suited on the wing than at right back.

  18. Samuel that is exactly how I would utilise the wings. You can have one narrow winger – look at Ronaldinho, Zidane etc playing for their club sides – but the other wing must then play very, very wide. There’s no doubt that players like Clichy and Eboue are doing well out wide but I just think we need one more option to balance things out.

  19. We have Sagna and Hoyte at Right back, so i think Eboue should move up. Not just because we have too many right backs,but because Eboue does run at players and he doesnt hesitate to shoot. And he looks more comfortable there. When either Hleb or Roscicky gets injured, we should put Eboue up there.
    With walcott also improving, i just have the feeling that we can do good without any new wingers. Although i clearly wont say no to any new additions. 🙂

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