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Alphonse Areola error ignites debate over PSG's goalkeeping situation

Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Alphonse Areola has been under scrutiny since the French giants' 2-1 Champions League win away at FC Basel on Tuesday after his error in judgment allowed Lucas Zuffi to score an awkward equaliser for the hosts.

Ultimately, the Frenchman's gaffe did not cost Unai Emery's men because of Thomas Meunier's spectacular late volleyed winner but it was significant enough to reignite the debate over whether or not PSG have a firmly established No. 1 shot stopper yet.

Speaking in his news conference after the match at St Jakob-Park, the Spaniard refused to blame Areola for Basel's leveller and insisted it was "not an error."

"Generally speaking, we were very satisfied with him because he dominated his area of the pitch -- particularly when it came to catching the ball," Emery added. "He has done very well in every match so far.

"Basel put a lot of balls into the box and towards the far post and it was important he claimed them. I prefer to look at all of the work he has done (instead of judging him on the Basel goal). His performances have boosted the team's confidence.

"If you concede a goal from distance during a match, it is usually not something serious. I am very pleased with him overall. He is playing the way we want him to and that is working well for the team."

Emery was right to stick up for Areola after the Basel match and he is correct in pointing out that the 23-year-old has been very good overall since replacing Kevin Trapp between the sticks against Arsenal back in September.

Zuffi's goal, while spectacular in a sense, was also largely fortuitous as it looked like it might just as easily have been a mishit cross as an intentional shot on goal.

The former appears the more likely explanation and Areola himself was preparing to receive a cross, which explains why he was lobbed almost on his own goalline -- one of the ultimate humiliations for a keeper.

While the PSG youth academy graduate has been excellent since he was brought into the starting XI, it must be remembered how he came to seize his chance to impress the 45-year-old tactician in the first place.

Areola was installed as Emery's starting goalkeeper after Trapp and Meunier, together, allowed Robert Beric to snatch a late, late equaliser for AS Saint-Etienne just before the visit of the Gunners.

The German shot stopper must take some of the blame for Les Verts' equaliser at Parc des Princes that night but if his gaffe was serious enough to cost him his place in the starting XI against Arsenal, then Areola's was realistically sufficient to merit a similar change.

Trapp could find himself reinstalled in goal against Stade Rennais in Ligue 1 on Sunday and if he does, it will be the former Eintracht Frankfurt man's first appearance across any competition in almost two months.

Emery has a big decision to make because there will be ramifications if the Basque boss sticks with Areola or hands Trapp another opportunity to impress.

Keep faith in Areola and Emery sends out a strong message that the Frenchman is his preferred option in goal and that Trapp will always be considered second to his positional rival.

Opt to give Trapp another chance to prove himself and the ex-Sevilla coach shows that competition for places -- something he championed when he arrived but has not honoured lately -- is still alive at PSG.

Such a decision would keep both players motivated and on their toes and, crucially, will ensure the German's confidence is not forever shattered and give him the feeling he still has a future to fight for in the French capital.

There is logic to both decisions Emery could make, particularly putting his faith in Areola as his starter after the amount of fuss his duel with Trapp for the No. 1 role caused in the early days of the Spaniard's reign.

However, the coach has staked most of his reputation at PSG on creating competition for places and if he turns his back on that it could add to the sense of dissatisfaction surrounding the slow start to this season and, consequently, Emery's time at Parc des Princes so far.

Ultimately, the former Valencia tactician's decision could be made easy by the fact that Areola has picked up a slight knock since Basel and might not be fit to start.

If that is the case, then Emery can give Trapp another chance and delay his decision between the pair until after the international break.