How Will Zlatan’s Return Effect Paris St Germain?


Last Sunday during France’s explosive first installment of Le Classique, the stakes rose to an all time high when Paris St Germain’s talisman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic stepped onto the pitch for the first time since late September. The Swede’s performance was certainly a sign of the fact that he is not at optimal fitness just yet, but it also signals many other issues which can arise with his arrival.

Since Zlatan had been absent so long Blanc and the Paris St Germain men were forced to play in a situation that many thought they would crumble in. Becoming a strong team without their leading force, and it is somewhat of a dismissal to Zlatan to think that they achieved. But it also a compliment to Blanc and those who stepped up, such as Edinson Cavani and Lucas Moura. Lucas was able to find more goal scoring spirit as he wasn’t as responsible for creating for Zlatan but creating for himself — Cavani also fell into his best as his central role started to take gravity.

Photo : C.Gavelle/PSG

This lesson is enormous for the French Champions as their structure is just as efficient without the man they always seemed to lean on too much. Now the mechanics of the club need to continue this powerful rejuvenation, and add in that extra flare they found with Zlatan. The 33 year old has always been able to add in those individual’s moments of brilliance offering that extra layer of excitement in Paris’ attack.

But also what should be noted is that if we see the squad hindered in his presence on the pitch, is it simply because they feel less free in space with him? For instance, during Le Classique, it was blatantly obvious that although Zlatan had plenty of chances to pass to Cavani and endear the club with a greater scoring tally, he decided otherwise.

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Selfishly it seems, probably in a mini stint of healthy competition, Zlatan was aware of Cavani’s tally climb versus his own. Cavani has 9 goals in 17 appearances to the Swedes 7 goals in 8 appearances since his absence as per Bleacher Report. Many believe that, these particular moments in the game signify a treble between the two Parisian front men. According to Jonathan Johnson, a French football expert, it is simply just competitive fever, nothing more.

I do believe though, that the club, filled with many younger players than Zlatan, who are much less experienced than the striker, are in many cases intimidated by him. On the pitch, it is fair to be intimidated by such a towering juggernaut, but the freedom they possess without him can only increase the power of the club more in Ligue 1 and in Europe.

Perhaps his appearances in smaller doses, such as coming off the bench during Le Classique, will help the squad achieve a greater sense of play until they can launch their favourite weapon for the finish. This is all on the tactical grounds of Blanc, and the likelihood of Zlatan not starting a match, during full fitness is highly unlikely. In the mean time, the international break should help Paris’ players hone their successes and come back fresh to domestic competition.

Revons Plus Grand!