Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bellerin: Psg Are Still Dangerous without Zlatan; Arsenal Star Fears Ibrahimovic Exit Has Not Hurt Rivals and Pinpoints Di Maria as Key Threat Tonight

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bellerin: Psg Are Still Dangerous without Zlatan; Arsenal Star Fears Ibrahimovic Exit Has Not Hurt Rivals and Pinpoints Di Maria as Key Threat Tonight

Article excerpt

Byline: James Olley in Paris

HECTOR BELLERIN has warned Paris St Germain are still a major force in Europe despite losing Zlatan Ibrahimovic and singled out Angel Di Maria as the danger man tonight.

Arsenal face PSG in their Champions League Group A opener here looking to improve on a poor recent record, having lost on matchday one in each of their past two seasons.

The hosts are seventh in Ligue 1 after drawing 1-1 against Saint-Etienne on Friday as they show early signs of struggling to adapt to life without Ibrahimovic, who joined Manchester United this summer after four hugely successful years with PSG in which he scored a staggering 156 goals in 180 games.

Edinson Cavani will lead the line for PSG in a three-man attack also featuring Lucas Moura and Di Maria, who United smashed the British transfer record to sign in 2014 only to sell him 12 months later after a disappointing season at Old Trafford.

"I think that, as a club, they have loads of good players," said Arsenal defender Bellerin (left). "I don't think losing Ibrahimovic affects them at all. They have a really strong front three at the moment and anyone they play up front will be dangerous. We will face it as we would have done if he was playing. The team are up for it."

Di Maria was sent off in his previous game against Arsenal -- a sixthround FA Cup defeat in March 2015 -- but Bellerin, who also played that night, believes the 28-year-old is capable of causing his team problems at the Parc des Princes. "I remember that game," he told Standard Sport. "He was playing on the other side -- I was facing up against Ashley Young more often. But obviously we know the player. He is very tricky, he has a very good left foot and will be difficult to defend against. But we've all faced a lot of top-quality players and this is the level we are required to be at. So I am sure whoever is up against him will be ready."

Given their recent domination of French football, PSG are in something of a crisis. Friday's draw meant they have gone two domestic games without success for the first time in almost two years. A 3-1 defeat to Monaco 13 days earlier meant that for the first time in 16 months, PSG did not at least share a lead at the top of Ligue 1. …

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