Arsenal failed to capitalise on their 2-1 lead last night, conceding a soft late goal to all but ensure that they will not top their UEFA Champions League group yet again

Edinson Cavani put the visitors ahead, before an Olivier Giroud penalty and a Marco Veratti own goal put the Gunners ahead, leaving them in pole position to top the group.

However, Arsenal conceded a soft header on the 78th minute, and could only manage a draw at the Emirates.

Lucas Moura – one of the shorter players on the pitch at 5″8 – was left unmarked at the far post and Alex Iwobi failed to clear his incoming header leaving David Ospina helpless.

The result means that Arsene Wenger’s men will almost certainly finish in second position, with PSG having only Ludogorets – who have yet to win a single game in the group stages – left to play.

Arsenal now face the prospect of potentially drawing Barcelona, who they have failed to eliminate on several occasions over the past few years.

We take a look at some of the key talking points from last nights game :

Wenger got team selection wrong

Did Wenger get his team wrong? (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)
Did Wenger get his team wrong? (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

Wenger opted to start with Olivier Giroud who – to his credit – caused PSG issues with his presence in the box.

However, the Frenchman’s static style of play meant that one of Arsenal’s strongest weapons this season – their counter-attack – was mostly ineffective against a PSG side that dominated the opening 20 minutes.

Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez were the only outlets for any Arsenal player looking to initiate a break after a PSG attack, and both of them were marked excellently by the PSG players.

When it came to Arsenal’s build up play, Giroud was useful outside the penalty area with his trademark quick flicks and layoffs.

However, Alexis Sanchez – who was playing in an unfamiliar role on the right – was left isolated on several occasions and constantly drifted infield in a bid to get more involved.

This left most of Arsenal’s players exchanging passes around the penalty area before eventually losing the ball, as there was no one making runs past the defenders – something Theo Walcott has done to great effect this season.

PSG found it almost too easy to defend against this style of play in the first half, and Arsenal were fortunate to receive a penalty when Sanchez appeared to react to almost minimal contact from Grzegorz Krychowiak.

That Olivier Giroud’s penalty was the first shot on target says it all. The balance of this team was just not right from the very start, and Wenger has to accept responsibility for his team selection.

Ramsey/Coquelin axis does not work

Wenger once again attempted to shoe-horn Aaron Ramsey into the side, with the Frenchman opting for a midfield of Ramsey and Francis Coquelin.

Where Coquelin and Santi Cazorla perfectly complement each other, with Coquelin staying deep when Cazorla opts to attack, and Cazorla drops deep to ease the pressure on midfield with his brilliant close control and passing ability, Ramsey and Coquelin seem to be completely disjointed.

Ramsey constantly slowed down play by opting to pass backwards or dawdling on the ball. Too often the Welshman would turn in circles looking for a forward pass, only to opt for the easy option and pass it backwards.

Francis Coquelin has never been a brilliant passer of the ball, although he does possess some amount of ability to bring the play out of midfield.

However, this works with Cazorla as the diminutive Spaniard is an expert at bringing the ball out of midfield and playing it forward with quick, fizzing passes.

Ramsey on the other hand is nowhere near as composed on the ball and is notorious for giving the ball away by over-complicating things,

It is true that the Welshman has only just returned to action and is very likely not completely sharp when it comes to competitive fixtures, but if that is the case perhaps he is better used as a substitute until he is.

Wenger must trust Xhaka

No trust from his boss?  (Photo courtesy Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
No trust from his boss? (Photo courtesy Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Wenger splashed big money on Granit Xhaka in the summer, so it is slightly bewildering that Wenger does not trust the Swiss midfielder to start games as yet.

Xhaka is a brilliant passer of the ball, able to pick out players on any part of the pitch with his gifted left foot. He is not the best defensively, but should Wenger pair Xhaka with Coquelin, it is likely that the two will form a much more stable partnership than the one discussed above.

Xhaka also is the kind of player that always looks to play the ball forward, or exchange quick passes with a teammate to create space for others.

And, given that he is capable of some absolute screamers, he provides another threat from outside the box should teams choose to sit back and soak up pressure.

The Swiss midfielder’s discipline is obviously a big point of concern to Wenger, but the Frenchman cannot continue to ignore a player who not only leads from midfield in big games, but has the ability to open up defences and dictate play.

As we said, the Ramsey/Coquelin axis does not work, but there are very good indicators that a Xhaka/Coquelin one will.

Arsenal still need another winger, as Iwobi cannot be relied upon for an entire season

Iwobi is a world-class talent, but does he deserve a spot from the start? (Photo courtesy Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Iwobi is a world-class talent, but does he deserve a spot from the start? (Photo courtesy Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Alex Iwobi is undoubtedly a very talented player, and has a big future ahead of him at Arsenal.

However, the youngster only broke into Arsenal’s first team last season and has already been promoted to an automatic first-team player – not that he doesn’t deserve it.

There is no question that he still has a lot to learn, though, and in high-intensity games Iwobi sometimes makes the wrong decisions.

It was his lack of concentration in the final stages of the match that led to him deflecting the ball into his own net. Lucas Moura’s header was goal-bound, but had Iwobi been paying more attention and reacted faster, the goal could easily have been averted.

Iwobi also failed to make a real impact on the game, opting to pass when he should have shot, and giving the ball away on several occasions.

The Nigerian international also has the tendency – like many of his Arsenal teammates – to drift infield instead of making runs past defenders on the wing or into space – something Ozil thrives on.

If Arsenal truly want to compete on all fronts, they need another specialist winger. Arsenal’s first clear-cut chance came when, finally, Alexis Sanchez made a run past a defender and Mesut Ozil brilliantly picked him out with a smart reverse.

Theo Walcott is the only player at Arsenal that does this on a regular basis, and he has already scored 8 goals in 14 appearances this season.

If Arsenal had another winger on the opposite flank operating the same way as Walcott, with Sanchez leading the line, it could lead to some devastating attacking play.

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