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Arsenal faces PSV Eindhoven in Champions League Comebacks

Arsenal and PSV Eindhoven make their eagerly awaited return to the UEFA Champions League after significant absences from Europe’s elite competition.

Arsenal rejoin the Champions League for the first time since their humbling 10-2 aggregate defeat at the hands of Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern Munich in the 2016-17 tournament. Much has transpired since then, with Arsène Wenger’s departure, Unai Emery’s unsuccessful quest for European glory culminating in a humiliating 4-1 defeat to Chelsea in the 2019 Europa League final, and subsequent changes at the boardroom level. Mikel Arteta’s appointment brought renewed vigor to Arsenal’s quest to regain their domestic and European prominence.

PSV Eindhoven also makes a comeback after a four-season absence from the big stage. During this period, they underwent multiple managerial changes, including caretakers, securing four runner-up finishes in the Eredivisie and experiencing one abandoned season since their last Champions League appearance. Despite three eliminations in the qualifiers during this time, they overcame Rangers in August to earn their place in the group stage once more.

Underlining the extensive changes at Arsenal since 2017, none of the players from their last Champions League outing remain in the lineup, whereas Luuk de Jong is the lone PSV player who featured in their 2018-19 competition campaign.

Arsenal vs PSV Eindhoven Preview

Arsenal will rely on the experience of Gabriel Jesus, with 20 goals in 38 Champions League appearances. They also boast Kai Havertz, a 2021 champion with Chelsea who scored the winning goal in the final against Manchester City.

PSV pins its hopes on striker De Jong, who has a favorable track record against north London teams, scoring more goals against Tottenham than any other Champions League opponent (two). However, his stint with Newcastle United saw him fail to score a Premier League goal.

PSV has made an impressive start to the season, winning eight and drawing one of their first nine matches in all competitions. Arsenal, though yet to find their fluency, has collected 13 points from their initial five Premier League games.

In a challenging group that includes Sevilla and Lens, a strong start is crucial for both teams. Arsenal faces scheduling challenges with their Premier League game against Everton moved from Saturday to Sunday following the Champions League draw, and a north London derby on the horizon. Staying focused is vital if they hope to secure three points. PSV may view this as their toughest group fixture, but Arsenal’s tendency to concede at home may embolden their aspirations of earning a positive result.

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