Football

Di Maria wary of Gunners’ counter-attack

Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel di Maria warned his teammates of Arsenal's prowess on the break and singled out Mesut Oezil passing ahead of their Champions League clash tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

The tie is likely to decide who tops Group A with the two sides level on 10 points.

Their first clash ended 1-1 but di Maria (below) said his team learned little from the match.

He told Uefa's official website: "We played really well and had chances to win it.

"I think we played better than Arsenal, and they didn't play well, but I don't think we learned much because we just couldn't score enough goals.

"We know they're a very strong team with some high-quality players...

"They're very strong on the counter-attack. Oezil is a top-quality player - his passing is very good, and he's got some very quick players around him."

While the Argentine has been delivering for the French giants, Paris Saint-Germain's under-pressure coach Unai Emery has insisted that shunned star signings such as Hatem Ben Arfa and Jese must fight for minutes to prove their worth on the pitch.

The Spaniard, who replaced Laurent Blanc in July, has had a tough start to life in the French capital.

His team are only third in Ligue 1.

But Emery maintains that PSG's Qatari owners have ordered him to work on the "details" that make a good club great.

Emery has faced particular scrutiny over his rejection of new signings Ben Arfa who came from Nice, Real Madrid import Jese and Belgian international defender Thomas Meunier.

Along with PSG's other new faces, none have become first-team regulars.

"Adapting to a team that has an identity, a game philosophy, is not easy. It doesn't matter whether it is the coach, the staff or the players," Emery said.

"Some players come in and integrate faster than others. Hatem Ben Arfa showed his qualities at Nice but he has changed team. Today Hatem is better.

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"We have spoken, he understands that he has to improve certain things to play.

"He will get the opportunity to show good things on the pitch.

"That is what I want for him and the others...

"Coming on for 10, 15, 20, 30 or 45 minutes, it is an opportunity to gain extra time in the next match.

"Then you have to be patient. The player who comes on and does good things will win minutes and can improve. The one who does not come on has training to show me he is ready to play."

However, Serge Aurier won't be ready to play against Arsenal after he was barred from travelling to London.

The Ivory Coast fullback, who was strongly linked with the Gunners before signing for PSG, was convicted for assaulting a French police officer outside a nightclub in May.

A statement on PSG's website read: "Due to a sudden about-face by the British authorities, Serge Aurier has not been allowed to travel with Unai Emery's squad for the clash away to Arsenal.

"Paris Saint-Germain are stunned by this incomprehensible situation that attacks the very integrity of the Champions League."

- Wire Services.

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