Arsenal make their triumphant return to the Champions League today, with the Emirates hosting Wednesday night football for the first time in six seasons. PSV Eindhoven are in town, last season’s runner up in the Eredivisie. The Dutch side aren’t to be taken lightly, and the pressure is on the Gunners. You need to get results at home in the group stage.
Arsenal’s young roster are short on Champions League experience, which could be a good or a bad thing. They might not know enough to be overawed by the bright lights and the big stage. Or they might be overwhelmed by the experience. It’s been a long several years in the wilderness for the club, all building towards this moment (and hopefully more momentous ones to come).
PSV have some familiar faces for American viewers — USMNT players Ricardo Pepi and Sergino Dest, who joined the Dutch side on loan this summer, as well as Mexican international Hirving Lozano, who returned to the club where he racked up the goal involvements earlier in his career. PSV are an interesting mix of wily veteran players and exciting youngsters. They’re in a three-way tie atop the Eredivisie with AZ Alkmaar and FC Twente with four wins from four.
The two clubs faced each other in the Europa League group stage, with each winning on their home ground. Standouts Xavi Simmons, Cody Gakpo, and Noni Madueke have all moved on since those meetings. This season, 33-year old Luuk de Jong has been banging in the goals for PSV, with nine tallies to go along with five assists in the young season.
PSV play a possession-focused style. As we know, Arsenal do as well. It will be interesting to see which side gives way / is able to impose their will to dictate the tempo. Last season, the Gunners showed themselves comfortable with ceding a bit more possession and looking to score with quick, direct attacking play. This year, they’re playing at a slower pace, looking to dominate the ball and stifle opponents in the middle third.
Arsenal will be without Gabriel Martinelli, who picked up a hamstring injury at the weekend. Mikel Arteta has yet to rule the Brazilian winger out for Sunday’s North London Derby. Thomas Partey is weeks away from a return. Jurrien Timber is out long-term. Mohamed Elneny is close to be fit for selection following his lengthy spell recovering from knee surgery.
PSV may be without attacker Noa Lang, who was forced off at the weekend with an injury but traveled with the team. Armando Obispo, Fredrik Oppegard, and Mauro Junior will all miss out for the Dutch side.
Arsenal - Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Rice, Havertz, Ødegaard, Saka, Trossard, Jesus
PSV - Benitez, Teze, Bella-Kotchap, Boscagli, Dest, Schouten, Veerman, Bakayoko, Saibari, Lang, de Jong
WHAT: Arsenal vs. PSV Eindhoven
WHERE: The Emirates
WHEN: Wednesday, September 20th 12 pm PT | 3 pm ET | 8 pm BT
US TV: Streaming on Paramount+.
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