Jose Mourinho Got What He Wanted, But Did Paris St-Germain?


And so it seems that the mighty Jose Mourinho was granted his wish on Monday, as Paris St-Germain are set to once again, face Chelsea in the Champions League. Mourinho as reported by had hoped to draw Paris as they were the right fit for the timing:

"“We don’t have much choice, there are only give possibilities, but to make it easy for everybody, I would say Paris St Germain. It’s easy for us to travel, easy for the fans to travel and they won’t have to spend a lot if money to go there. They are a very good team and I would prefer a really good team, which will motivate the boys. So if I could chose, even though I can’t, I would say Paris.”"

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A deadly tournament this year, with all of Europe’s best to be chosen to face Paris, especially with the slump against Barcelona leading Laurent Blanc’s men down a tougher path. The potential that this match holds is rigorous, and Paris are in desperate need of a serious challenge to awaken their championship spirit — they have suffered two defeats in a row, one in their beloved Champions League against Barcelona to finish second in the group, and one to 12th placed EAG Guingamp in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

The famous defeat did not set Paris too far back of Olympique de Marseille in Ligue 1, as Marcelo Biesla’s men also suffered a loss to AS Monaco, but it does however blot Paris’ clean sheet in Europe and in France. Luckily both matches were away, which keeps Les Parisians a continued nightmare at the Parc des Princes.

But, what does this mean against Chelsea? How does this shape Paris and expose the major differences between Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea and Laurent Blanc’s Paris St-Germain? It does not take much dissection to see the clear ascendancy of the London club since their last visit to the Parc des Princes.

Jose Mourinho – Flickr Creative Commons

Most blatantly, during the clubs’ last meeting, Mourinho struggled to successfully rely on a sole attacker as his options were not solidified. The likes of misfiring Fernando Torres or somewhat dependable Demba Ba were not fully trusted. Whether he admitted it or not, the Portuguese coach relied on his incredible attacking midfield/wingers for goals.

Many of these chances came from Eden Hazard — who scored the penalty which added to Chelsea’s tally in their first match at the Parc des Princes — and Andre Schurrle. Now Chelsea stand as the most powerful force in England, one who before their loss to Newcastle were re-writing Arsenals ‘Invincibles’ tale this season.

Chelsea FC Team Celebrates – Flickr Creative Commons

Their front line is now abundant with trusted attacking optionss, most formidable comes from the likes of Diego Costa with his 12 goals in the EPL, and his partnership with Cesc Fabregas. Yet it does not end there, legend, Dider Drogba has been impeccable when called upon, and Frenchman Loic Remy also adds to the trustworthy threat.

Chelsea also have an impressive back line to support their world class midfield and tenacious attack; one which works similar to Paris’ in the sense that both sides utilize the flanks on the pitch with their pacey full backs.

When the two sides met last year, Paris had a huge concern looming above their heads, and it stood in the form of complacency. They have not fully shaken the demon, but they certainly lost great hope when their master magician –Zlatan Ibrahimovic — was unavailable for the second leg, which the Capital club went into with huge momentum.

Paris travelled to Stamford Bridge with a 3-1 lead, but once in London without the Swede, they paid severly. Paris functioned well as a team, but now they function better.

Photo : C.Gavelle/PSG

In the event that the club were to lose Zlatan again, the dynamic of the team would not suffer as great of a loss. Since Paris have been forced to understand their power without Zlatan because of his early injuries this year, Paris have become inevitably stronger together, as well as exposing the key players for the club.

Javier Pastore, for one, had scored a winning goal at the Parc des Princes last year, one which was spectacular and totally unexpected as his form was under major criticism at the time. This year the Argentine seems like a new signing with his rejuvenation — he poses a true danger for Chelsea to aid in Paris’ already outstanding front line.

Edinson Cavani has finally found his rhythm with and without Zlatan, becoming a leader and a perfect placement for central attack, surrounded by ever-growing Lucas Moura and Ezequiel Lavazzi. His form continues to excel when it is needed most.

The biggest problem for Paris currently is their defense. The partnership between former Chelsea man, David Luiz and Thiago Silva had many cracks show in their loss this past Sunday.

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As well, the pace and effect of left back Maxwell — although extremely reliable–  has started to go down. In order to cover the flanks and distance, his duties may need to be lessened. Gregory Van der Wiel did not have an outstanding display either, but his efforts can only get better.

With such a brilliant performance against Barcelona in September, Laurent Blanc could consider the partnership of Luiz and Marquinhos to protect Salvatore Sirigu. The 19 year old had seriously shown up in Silva’s absence, and has proven he is a influential choice.

The truth remains that Paris are suffering the same problems they were, during the two clubs’ last meeting in last year’s quarter-finals, but the more obvious improvements are granted in Chelsea’s favor.

If Paris truly want to move past their prior exits in the tournament, some serious magic must be injected into the club. The French outfit always seems to elevate in the Champions League, but now the true test begins as the two meet again.

Revons Plus Grand!