The excitement is palpable within the Arsenal camp ahead of their opening clash of the 2023/24 Champions League campaign.
It’s been over six years since that sweet anthem was played at the Emirates, with Gabriel Jesus revealing ahead of Wednesday’s clash that the iconic score has been reverberating around London Colney in the build-up to the game. There’s even a hint of fascination around the ball they’ll be kicking!
Honestly, it’s like Christmas Eve for the Gunners squad as the club prepares itself for its first taste of Champions League football since 2016/17.
However, it’s not just Arsenal who’ll be taking to the field on Wednesday night. There’s a certain Dutch outfit who’ll be looking to spoil the party when they come to town. The Gunners twice faced PSV in the Europa League last season, although plenty has changed since their previous meetings, which were split one apiece.
3 things to know about PSV before Champions League duel
Here are three things to familiarise yourselves with about Wednesday’s opponents before kick-off.
1. There’s a new manager in town
Ruud van Nistelrooy oversaw PSV’s two meetings with Arsenal last season, but internal strife convinced him to quit at the end of the campaign. Van Nistelrooy had led PSV to a respectable second-place finish in the Eredivisie, behind Arne Slot’s Feyenoord, and his departure certainly came as a surprise to outsiders.
Nevertheless, the club moved swiftly to appoint Ruud’s successor and opted for a manager who needs to restore his reputation after emerging as a journeyman coach whose success has rarely been sustained.
Peter Bosz has returned to Dutch football for the first time since leaving Ajax after a single season in 2017. He then failed miserably at Borussia Dortmund and had some success at Bayer Leverkusen before lasting just nine games at Lyon. Bosz needs a resurgence.
The Dutchman’s football is often easy on the eye, with his idealistic approach inspired by the Total Football ushered in by Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff during the Dutch’s heyday. He deploys a high defensive line and encourages his team to win back possession as soon as possible, whether that be from a goal-kick or after the ball has been lost. Bosz’s style has been described as gung-ho which can make for fascinating viewing, and the visitors will try to outscore Arsenal on Wednesday night as opposed to merely holding them off.
However, Bosz has also been criticised for a lack of pragmatism. His previous teams have constantly been exposed on the counter, and against supreme opposition, PSV risk getting blown away.
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