PSG V ARSENAL
Arsenal were handed a fitness boost as Laurent Koscielny trained ahead of their Champions League opener with Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes tonight.
The centre-back picked up an eye injury during Arsenal’s 2-1 against Southampton, in which he scored a scissor-kick, but he was training at London Colney Monday
Arsene Wenger, who was able to rest some of his big name players in Saturday’s victory, is expected to field a strong line-up in the French capital.
New signing Shkodran Mustafi could partner Koscielny, with Arsenal missing their other centre-backs Per Mertesacker and Gabriel through injury.
Wenger confirmed Koscielny has recovered well and is available, but Aaron Ramsey (hamstring) trained away from the main squad yesterday and did not travel to Paris.
“He (Koscielny) is alright,” Wenger said at his pre-match press conference. “I was worried after the game at Southampton because he took a big knock to his face, but he is OK.”
Olivier Giroud is pushing for his first start of the season, having made two substitute appearances for the Gunners this campaign.
Paris Saint-Germain last met Arsenal in the 1993/94 Cup Winners Cup semi-finals, when the Gunners won 2-1 on aggregate.
The Gunners are unbeaten in their 12 away games against French clubs in European competition, including winning their last seven.
This is the Ligue 1 side’s fifth consecutive Champions League campaign and ninth in total. Only Lyon has more appearances in the competition among French clubs, with a total of 14.
Arsenal has qualified for the Champions League for the 19th consecutive season, with only Real Madrid boasting a longer current streak of 20.
Arsenal has made it past the group stages in the last 13 seasons but has been knocked out at the last 16 stage in the last six campaigns. Their solitary Champions League final ended in defeat against Barcelona in 2006.
Petr Cech has kept 47 clean sheets in 111 Champions League games. Only Iker Casillas (51) and Edwin van der Sar (50) have kept more among goalkeepers.
Alexis Sanchez has scored three and assisted five of Arsenal’s last 13 Champions League goals.
Wenger has taken charge of 176 games in the Champions League, more than any other current manager. Only Alex Ferguson boasts more games, with 190.