Paris Saint-Germains' Attacking Trio Back In Action!
While rumors point towards departures from Neymar Jr. or Kylian Mbappe whether the Parisian club breached FIFA’s Financial Fair Play, on Saturday, home at the Parc des Princes, Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain defeated an eager SCO Angers team 3–1 with goals from the MCN.
PSG Coach, Thomas Tuchel, opted for his favored 3–4–1–2 instead of the usual 4–3–3 formation. New signing, Thilo Kehrer, was given the nod and started his first Ligue 1 match. Coming back from injury was striker Edison Cavani, Alphonse Arealo — for the next 2 matches — back between the goal posts and most of the regular starting 11.
The Parisian’s back three included Kehrer, captain Thiago Silva, and academy product Presnel Kimpembe. In the midfield were FC Barcelona target, Adrien Rabiot and surprisingly Marquinhos. On the wings lied Angel Di Maria as left wingback and Thomas Meunier as right wingback, similar to what he plays in the Belgium national side. The MCN were given favorable roles, with Neymar as a roaming attacking-midfielder under strikers “El Matador” Cavani and Kylian Mbappe.
The first goal came from none other than El Matador Cavani. In the 12th minute, a deflected pass from Neymar found Cavani who poked his foot out, securing his first Ligue 1 goal of the season.
Angers were fortunate to find the equalizer in the 21st minute, as debutant Kerher mistimed his tackle inside the box, gifting the away side a penalty. Thomas Mangani converted from the penaly spot, giving Angers a boost of confidence.
Kehrer’s debut was one to forget, committing 3 fouls (one leading to a penalty) and misplacing passes in the first half. Starting second half, the Shalke 04 youth product, was substituted off for Stanley N’soki.
Tuchel, aware of the opponent, used the opportunity to experiment, opting for new tactics. As done in pre-season and the previous 2 games (including the Champions des Trophées), the former Borussia Dortmund coach, wants the French capital to be aware of their opponent and adapt to the situation — the atmosphere.
“We played too slowly to open spaces and the first 10 or 15 minutes are OK but after that we lost intensity and speed in our passes. That’s why it was difficult…,” said Tuchel in a post-match interview. “In the second half, we played better, with more intensity, and we found players between the lines, which is very important for us, with Kylian, Ney and Angel.”
While tactical changes seemed to appear late into the game with former PSG coach, Unai Emery, Tuchel wasted no time to spice things up in the second half. Within six minutes, a swift cross from Angel was met by a first-time volley, courtesy of wonderkid Mbappe. That’s 3 goals in 2 games for the World Cup winner.
In the 66th minute, Neymar added the cherry on top for Paris, scoring his third consecutive goal in 3 Ligue 1 appearances. A touch and go followed by a quick timed dribble from Mbappe, inside the box, gave Neymar the hardest task of guiding the ball inside the net, like a German Shepherd reassuring the heard of sheep don’t go the wrong way. His performance was vital in creating space in the midfield, passing between the lines or allowing Di Maria to become the fourth attacker in the final third. At times, the Brazilian dropped down to the defensive area to pick up the ball, at one point recovering the ball from an error.
The game finished on a positive note for the home side, which will allow Tuchel to continue working on tactics or adjusting areas that appear flawed.
Surprisingly, PSG are tied in 1st place with Dijon FCO, who are playing their 3rd season in Ligue 1 respectively.
Dijon forward, 20 year old, Jules Keita, believes he can be better than Neymar:
“Back home [in Guinea] they call me Baba Neymar... I can be even better than him.”
On another note, today UEFA will determine whether or not Paris be sanctioned for breaching FFP guidelines.