Arsenal will kick off their maiden Champions League campaign in six-and-a-half years when they welcome PSV Eindhoven to the Emirates Stadium for Wednesday’s Group B curtain raiser.
Fans brimming with excitement for the highly anticipated clash can buy Arsenal vs PSV Eindhoven tickets even today, with Arsenal eager to get off to a winning start at home on Wednesday.
Mikel Arteta’s men punched their ticket to Europe’s elite competition via a second-place finish in the 2022/23 Premier League season, while their Dutch counterparts saw off a challenge from Rangers to secure a spot.
Arsenal and PSV will renew acquaintances in this season’s Champions League tournament after facing off in the Europa League group stage in the previous campaign.
Each side won their respective home games, with the Gunners securing a narrow 1-0 win at the Emirates while PSV bettered their performance with a 2-0 return leg victory at Philips Stadion a week later.
Both sides also trade tackles in the Champions League for the first time since the 2006/07 round of 16, when the Gunners were eliminated 2-1 on aggregate.
Arsenal would host their final Champions League fixture at the Emirates a decade later as Arsene Wenger’s side sought to reverse a 5-1 last-16 deficit against familiar foes Bayern Munich in the 2016/17 campaign.
However, their revenge plot didn’t exactly go according to script, with the Gunners suffering an identical humiliation in front of their own fans.
What followed that 10-2 aggregate embarrassment was Wenger’s belated departure, the ill-fated Unai Emery era and an unprecedented campaign where they missed out on European tournaments altogether.
Arteta has since overseen a complete restructuring at the North London club, putting all their previous woes behind them to ensure the club competes with Europe’s finest once again.
It wouldn’t matter that qualification only sufficed as a consolation prize for the Gunners after their quest to end a Premier League drought crashed and burned in the latter stages of last season.
Arsenal’s clash with PSV precedes subsequent fixtures against Ligue 1 strugglers Lens and Europa League holders Sevilla as the Gunners managed to avoid one of the more intimidating draws.
They will fancy their chances of securing safe passage to the knockout rounds, having done so in each of their last 17 appearances in the Champions League.
While they would be silly to underestimate the obstacles in their path, Arsenal last failed to make it past the Champions League group stage in 1999/00.
Arsenal hasn’t exactly been dazzling on the attacking front this season, but they’ve ground out results when need be and remain one of only four Premier League sides to maintain an unbeaten record thus far.
Arsenal had been without a win at the Merseyside ground since Wenger was at the helm in 2017/18, but the result against the Toffees has only boosted the confidence in the Gunners locker room.
However, home clean sheets continue to elude the Gunners, managing just one shut-out in their last 11 fixtures at the Emirates, which came on the final day of last season against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
While keeping PSV out may prove problematic for the leaky Gunners, they can bank on their ability to secure a positive result, considering they are unbeaten in their last eight Champions League group-stage games (W6, D2).
Having endured a four-year hiatus from the Champions League, PSV returned to the competition in style, defeating Rangers 7-3 on aggregate to rubber stamp a place in the group stage.
Bosz’s men have been in rampant form in the final third this term, smashing four past NEC Nijmegen over the weekend to cement their place at the top of the Eredivisie table.
As if embarking on a staggering 26 matches unbeaten run isn’t enough, PSV’s confidence will be through the roof when they arrive in North London, having also scored at least twice in each of their last eight contests.
However, despite facing off with Arsenal three times at the Emirates, they have only found the back of the net once and will need every weapon in their arsenal to thwart the Gunners on Wednesday.
It helps PSV’s cause that striker Luuk de Jong was in exceptional form during the qualifier campaign, scoring in all four of their fixtures, bagging five goals and providing two assists.
The 33-year-old also has four goals and five assists in four Eredivisie outings while rippling the net in three of his last four Champions League appearances for PSV.
Breaking their goalscoring duck at the Emirates may not be enough to secure victory, with PSV winless in their last 14 Champions League games (D6, L8).
The last time they celebrated a Champions League triumph was after a 2-1 victory over CSKA Moscow in 2015, marking the longest ongoing run without a win among the 32 sides competing in the tournament this season.
However, it helps their confidence that they were the only side to beat Arsenal in last season’s Europa League, even though they’ve won none of their four previous visits to the Gunners in all competitions (D2, L2).