We’re the underdogs
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PREVIEW
The last time Arsenal visited Paris-Saint Germain back in 1994 they secured a 1-0 win on the way to lifting the European Cup Winner’s Cup.
This time around even the Arsenal players believe they enter the contest as underdogs thanks to PSG’s impressive efforts in the competition in recent years.
While Arsenal have failed to win a league title since 2004 and have not made it past the Champions League round of 16 in seven years, the Parisians have won four straight Ligue 1 crowns and made the quarter-finals four times in succession in Europe’s elite competition.
A fact that has led Gunners striker Olivier Giroud to state that his side will face an uphill battle when they visit the Parc de Princes tonight.
After securing a late 2-1 victory over Southampton, he said: “We knew this victory would require character even if everything was not easy.
“The Champions League is a different competition.
“Paris will regroup [from Friday’s 1-1 draw with SaintEtienne] and are the favourites and leader of this group. It is up to us to put doubt into them.” PSG have undergone a change over the summer, with manager Laurent Blanc replaced by Unai Emery, while star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and central defender David Luiz have departed. But Brazilian winger Lucas Moura (inset) believes PSG have the quality to win the Champions League this season. “I think we should do things a little differently this season,” he said. “We have the capacity and quality to get through – that’s our goal, our dream. “We must progress during the season with the championship to get there, but I think we can reach further and why not win the Champions League.”
PEP EXPECTS TOUGH TEST AGAINST GLADBACH
Manchester City may have made a perfect start to the season, but manager Pep Guardiola expects a difficult game at the Etihad tonight. The Spaniard knows the German league well from his time at Bayern Munich and expects Borussia Monchengladbach to pose a serious threat to his side.
“I’m worried – I know them well,” he said. “The Champions League starts in the first round and not in the knockout stages. You cannot make mistakes. If you relax in the first two games, you are out.”
Despite City winning all six games so far under Guardiola, the former Barcelona and Bayern boss does not believe his team are yet up to the high standards he demands.
“Until now, in the Premier League it has been okay – but to compete against the best clubs in Europe, in this moment with the way we are playing, we are not able to,” he said after the win over Manchester United.
City will be boosted by the return of striker Sergio Aguero – whose ban only applies in English football – but they are likely to be without Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan.
Meanwhile, Monchengladbach come into the game on the back on a 3-1 defeat to Freiburg, but Brazilian midfielder Raffael does not believe the loss will play on their minds.
“We aren’t afraid of any team,” he said.
INIESTA WARNING FOR CELTIC
Andres Iniesta believes Barcelona will rebound from their shock loss to Alaves and has warned Celtic not to be fooled by the defeat.
While Celtic romped past Rangers at the weekend, Barca suffered a surprise 2-1 loss to newly-promoted Alaves.
But Iniesta does not believe that Celtic should be encouraged by the result and expects his side to respond positively at the Nou Camp.
“Against Celtic everything will be different. This loss won’t affect us,” he said. “We must have patience. We have certainly had a bad performance but need to analyse the cause and correct the errors we made.
“We are early in the season and there is plenty of room ahead to improve.
“We struggled and couldn’t break down the Alaves defence. But we’ve paid for it and we have to make sure things are better for Celtic.”
The Spanish giants are likely to recall Iniesta, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi to the starting line-up, with the trio all starting on the bench against Alaves.
Celtic, meanwhile, have declared captain Scott Brown fit for the crucial tie.