Paris Saint-Germain are not ready for European elite


Paris Saint-Germain’s burst onto the scene came from a onslaught of money and incredible marketing. Thanks to that basis, the likes of some of Europe’s best players and prospects began to journey into the capital and build a team that before 2013 hadn’t won a league title since 1994.

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Now Les Parisians are challenging for respectability in the continent of Europe and they have done so in as little as three years. The shape of modern football has changed thanks to owners such as the Qatari Sports Investment because of their endless supply of financial assistance. The capital club proves that a club with a boost of money,  little history, influx success and mediocre status in Europe can eventually become a indefinite threat to the football scene.

But now, as Laurent Blanc and his men look to ready themselves for their second meeting against Barcelona at the Nou Camp in the Champions League, these assets are beginning to fade in worth. PSG had a outstanding triumph against Chelsea in the Round of 16, knocking the West London outfit out of the competition on their own British turf.

The story was one for the books as the two had met the year before and the victory did not go in favor of Les Parisians, thus enforcing the favouritism of Chelsea. After their perseverance past Jose Mourinho’s men, the football world had let go of some of their uncertainty of the club and offered a glimmer of confidence that PSG had in fact finally proved their place among the European elite.

Perhaps the confidence was gained too fast as when the Parisians hosted Barcelona on Wednesday in the first leg of the quarter finals, Barcelona, most notably, Luis Suarez, exposed the clubs weaknesses in a 3-1 victory at the Parc des Princes.

Not only did the Catalans outshine PSG in their victory, they shattered the clubs record for being unbeaten at home in 33 consecutive matches. Within that stat, the clubs had met twice before at the Parc des Princes in the Champions League and PSG did not endure such a broken display.



Now going into the second leg at the Nou Camp, Paris does not have a hill to climb, they have a mountain. Not only did Barcelona outplay the capital club, they secured three vital away goals which will force Blanc’s men to come out of the Nou Camp with four or more goals.

There were several reasons for PSG’s weaknesses Wednesday and contrary to popular belief, it was not solely based on the sloppiness of David Luiz. Blanc’s side had been void of talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marco Verrati. As well, early in the match captain Thiago Silva was substituted with an apparent injury. So the entire spine of the club was left out of action – this simply destroyed the system that Paris have.

Without the likes of Silva, the direction of the back line diminishes. The Brazilian is captain for many reasons, one being his incredible read of the game which allows him to direct the teams focus where it is needed. This is what the defensive line lost once Silva was unavailable. Also, it should be noted that Luiz prior to the match was reported injured for upto four weeks due to an injury sustained during the clubs clash against Olympique de Marseille.

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If Luiz was on the bench so early, either the Brazilian’s diagnosis was incorrect, he chose to be available to play despite not being fully fit, or it was a bad coaching decision on part of Blanc. Whatever it was, Luiz’ hesitation was apparent and it showed immensely against Barcelona.

Moving into the midfield Les Parisians suffered a great deal without the presence of Marco Verrati and without the option of injured Thiago Motta. Verrati’s youthful energy combined with mature technique is what offers the capital club an incredibly valuable midfielder.

The Italian is tenacious and is also unforgiving, which allows the Paris midfield either formulate attack faster and clean up any messes at the same time. The true dirty work is done by Thiago Motta, thus without both of these Italian international, the midfield suffered a great deal.

As the spine continues it ends at the base with Zlatan Ibrahimovic who has had great success against Barcelona with PSG. Yet, due to a suspension sustained because of a red card he picked up against Chelsea, his services were also unavailable leaving all the pressure to goal shy Edinson Cavani.

Cavani’s performance against the Catalans was outstanding but with no result. Despite his best effort, the Uruguayan could not lift PSG past Barcelona and also had little options upfront to help him. This is not to take away from the efforts of Ezequiel Lavezzi or Lucas Moura, but it is to say that because of the clubs lack of ignition in the midfield, formulating attack was much more difficult.

Now although on many levels one can say because Blancs men were short on options for their starting line up, it should not hinder them to the pooint of a 3-1 loss at home. The squad should be strong enough in the absence of their best assets to at least get through on Parisian soil with a draw.

This concludes the fact that despite the anchor PSG have in money, it cannot and seems will fulfill their champions League dreams anytime soon. A lot of work is to be done and a divine victory over Barcelona in the second leg could qualify them into Europe’s elite.