PSG in the relegation zone as they search for first win of the season against Metz

Look at the Ligue 1 table, you may have to take a double look or even a triple look before you believe your eyes and see that PSG are in 17th place.

The champions have lost their first two games of the season for the first time in 42 years. Defeats against Lens 1-0 on the opening weekend of the season and then a 1-0 loss to Marseille in Paris last weekend means that they come into this game on zero points with zero goals.

Metz who are expected to struggle this season are on the same page as PSG, how rare is that? The club have also lost their opening two games, but that was expected, PSG’s wasn’t.

Of course the champions begun the season depleted with up to 7 players affected with the Coronavirus after the club allowed the team to go on holiday to Ibiza a week after they lost the Champions League final to Bayern Munich. There was still some quality in the PSG team that faced Lens though, but they were still defeated.

Against Marseille, some came back including Neymar and PSG played some good football but it was their rivals that scored the only goal of the game and then the melee at the end saw 5 players sent off, including Neymar which rules him out of this game.

PSG will be the huge odds on favourites to get it right against Metz though and the game is in Paris, this should be the match to break the duck for the club, if it isn’t there will be serious questions launched at them even if they have had some problems in preparing for the new league season.

Thomas Tuchel the PSG coach will be under pressure when the game takes place tonight and he had this to say, “Everyone thinks there is a results crisis, and in fact that’s the case. We have lost three in a row [counting the Champions League final, against Bayern Munich] and we’re not used to that. But we’ve had some good matches and I was surprised to see how we played against OM. We controlled the match. There were one or two classes of difference between the two teams. Complete domination, but you can lose a match like that.”

As for Metz they will try and go for the win playing the counter attack and will hope to score a goal at least and give PSG a game. Players such as Marquinhos and Mauro Icardi will be back for the champions, but Kylian Mbappe is still missing.

 

Neymar, Mbappe and 5 other PSG players have Coronavirus as league campaign due to start in chaos

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. PSG have confirmed at least 6 of their players have the Coronavirus ahead of the new season, and largely it is the clubs fault.

Most of the players involved were authorised to go on a special holiday to Ibiza, even during a pandemic after the disappointment of losing the Champions League final against Bayern Munich. Because of course when you lose, you go and on holiday and have a great time. But the risks have been very clear in the past few months, and photos of the players relaxing showed them arm in arm.

Indeed let’s go back to the medal presentation at the final itself where UEFA staff including the president Aleksander Ceferin freely shook all of the players hands, and of course no masks were involved. Time and again it seems mistakes have been made and now PSG are paying for this.

The club have not confirmed all the players that have tested positive, but L’equipe, France’s main sports paper, says that Marquinhos and Neymar are amongst the players affected. Both have been omitted from PSG’s first game of the season against Lens tomorrow. Kylian Mbappe was exposed as another who tested positive much to the anger of the club, with that news getting out. However what difference does it make?

This is a bad moment for PSG who will be weakened by this news for at least the first 2 games of the new season. They have already started 2 games behind the other clubs, although they will be heavy favourites to win the league once again.

The story exposes just how bad certain things have been planned between players and safety and of course it would be wrong to point the finger solely at PSG, Montpellier and Rennes have been hit too and in France the cases are increasing especially around the Paris area.

But maybe to have star players who have fallen ill to the virus will be a slight embarrassment to the club just as role models, and it is evident that they haven’t been following strict protocol. The news now of course is to wish every player the best with their health and see them on the pitch once again. And it goes to show just how easy it is to get the virus.

Lens who have been newly promoted this season will be boosted not by the virus of course but by some key players being left out of the game tomorrow, and they will feel they have a real chance to get some points in that game.

 

 

PSG’s front three fail to influence final

Kingsley Coman haunted his former side as the Bayern Munich forward scored the only goal of the game to beat Paris Saint-Germain in the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League final on Sunday.

The 24-year-old was a product of the Parisians’ youth system, making three league appearances before joining Juventus on a free transfer in 2014.

Coman headed home Joshua Kimmich’s cross from close range on the hour following a nice move by the German champions. The French international had terrorised Thilo Kehrer all evening. The German right-back was arguably started because of the disruption, allowing Thomas Meunier to leave to Borussia Dortmund on 1 July.

There wasn’t much between the two teams at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon and but for Manuel Neuer putting in another superb performance between the posts, on another day, PSG may have lifted the trophy.

However, Thomas Tuchel’s side came up short. Particularly the front three. Kylian Mbappe had a couple of shots blocked and Neymar had a good effort well saved by the German number one in the first half.

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Bayern Munich win 6th Champions League title after they beat PSG

Bayern Munich have joined Liverpool to win their 6th Champions League title after they beat PSG 1-0 in Lisbon.

The final was the opposite of what many thought it would be; full of goals and excitement. After all there were arguably 3 of the deadliest strikers in Europe on the pitch in the form of PSG’s Neymar and Kylian Mbappe and Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski. All three threatened to score, but none of them did.

In truth the final was a turgid affair which was riddled with mistakes, unforgivable for the quality that was on the pitch. Time and again both sets of teams made the wrong choices of pass and easily lost possession, that can happen but when it is under no pressure from the opposing team it feels like fatal viewing.

Bayern played much like they did against Lyon in the semi-finals, tactically aware as the game went on but not forcing themselves on the game. They are a team who are the best in Europe but under Hansi Flick also a team that do not feel comfortable in the game until they get that first goal. That is why it was unfortunate that PSG was not able to open the scoring and through Neymar they really should have. Manuel Neuer made a superb double save instead, in a rare golden chance for the French champions.

For much of the game Lewandowski traded goal mouth chances with falling over- some fouls looked genuine, others did not and he was not the only one feigning injury, or at least going over too easy. Neymar regrettably did the same towards the end of the game in which all of those ingredients that have made a passing fan loathe his style of play at times were highlighted. This was unfortunate given that every football fan was watching him on his stage as opposed to Ligue 1 football.

It was still an awesome sight at times to see both Neymar and Mbappe running at the Bayern defence. That’s £400m worth of talent there- a tornado about to engulf the Bayern defence, but we only ended up seeing this genuine attacking play on three occasions. Mostly in the first half.

On the hour mark Bayern got their goal and the one that would end up winning it. No Lewandowski heroics, though he had hit the post earlier in the game after a trademark spin, no Thomas Muller searing away with that smile either. Instead it was Kingsley Coman a PSG fan since a boy and the youngster prized away from Juventus a few seasons ago. Bayern coach Hansi Flick had mostly used Coman as a super sub, this time he gave him the nod to start the final. It paid dividends. A good forceful header was enough to beat Kaylor Navas and the game dearly needed a goal.

At that and with 30 minutes to go one would have thought PSG would have been relentless, instead it was Bayern on the attack looking to kill the game with a 2nd goal. Indeed Bayern for the large majority of the remaining time contained the threat of PSG. By this time Neymar, the golden boy looked tired. Mbappe the only golden boy did make some daring runs into the Bayern area with his quick feet and looked like he had been fouled for a penalty late on. The problem was that the referee waved it on given that Mbappe had made a meal of earlier fouls.

Angel Di Maria had moments of brilliance one involved a beautiful unseen pass, that reminded older football fans of Fernando Redondo’s exquisite move for Real Madrid to open up Manchester United 20 years ago. That move ended in a goal unlike Di Maria’s.

It was hard to take for PSG, Mbappe’s first half miss in front of goal when he appeared to pass back to Neuer rather than shoot isn’t easy to swallow for anyone considering the money he cost the club. But that shot summed up PSG’s evening, they were turgid and hollow.

Bayern in the end did enough and some of their defensive work as the game went on was superb. It was hardly a vintage display by the all conquering champions and yet it was something to be afraid of. Here we have a Bayern Munich side who can turn it on with goals and devastating attacking play, just ask Barcelona. But we also have a team that appear to have a plan b, one that can change the pace of the game to suit themselves and retreat with confidence when they have too.

It was inevitable at the final whistle that Neymar burst into tears as his dream of winning the competition with PSG was left in tatters. But Neymar will shine once more on his stage. There was perhaps more sympathy awarded to Thomas Tuchel the PSG coach who looked in genuine pain on his crutches following his foot injury a few weeks before, pain and disappointment is always going to be a toxic mix.

Attentions will turn to who will pick up the world player of the year in a season that has been strange to say the least. One could do little wrong in surely handing that trophy over to Manuel Neuer.

 

PSG’s new maturity fires them to their first ever Champions League final

It’s finally happened after 8 years of trying PSG have reached their first ever Champions League final after they beat RB Leipzig 3-0.

PSG were beginning to be known as the team who kept bottling it when it really mattered. Over the years the French champions had been dumped out of the competition by the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, two teams that they want to aspire to be like. There was the infamous Barcelona defeat where they were 4-1 up from the 1st leg and still got knocked out.

But the dream has been set in stone now. The team have had to beat Borussia Dortmund, Atalanta and RB Leipzig to reach the final and some cynical eyes will look at that and say that they haven’t really been tested. And yet with the changing shift of European football they have.

Dortmund remained a threat in the German Bunsdesliga to Bayern Munich for much of the season, it was only Bayern’s superb form since the restart that gave Dortmund little chance in the end.

Atalanta have had their best season in a generation, even at one time making a challenge for Serie A. They didn’t quite have enough in the tanks but the club have been very good now for the past 2 seasons and their attacking force at times this season has been superb. The Italians also took the lead over PSG before a stunning last minute comeback by the Ligue 1 side.

Finally RB Leipzig have really grown into a quality side and their future looks bright. Never to be taken lightly although their semi final game with PSG just looked like it came too early for them, they were caught out and then add to that the quality within the PSG team and it was lights out. Sadly for Leipzig it was a game to forget and it ended up passing them by.

But there is a new found maturity for this PSG side who have often been called out for being too individualistic. Yes the quality of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe is there to be seen- but at the end of the day these players have not exactly dominated the knockout games of their Champions League encounters. Instead others have risen up like Marquinhos and Angel Di Maria who is arguably the most consistent signing that PSG have ever made.

Win or lose in the final this has to be seen as a building block for the club for bigger things. It is interesting that it took Chelsea about 8 years to win the competition after they were taken over and injected with money. For Manchester City they seem to be behind schedule in that respect.

Have PSG arrived at their destination? We will know soon enough when the Champions League final takes place on August 23rd.

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Will Kylian Mbappe ever make the move to Real Madrid?

When Real Madrid target a player, they tend to get their man, even if they have to wait. They had to wait to lure Eden Hazard to the Santiago Bernabeu, trailing the Belgian for a number of seasons before eventually signing him from Chelsea last summer. This track record suggests to many that Kylian Mbappe will one day play for the club.

Real Madrid’s interest in the French forward is thinly veiled. Zinedine Zidane is widely believed to be a huge fan of Mbappe, although at this stage who isn’t given his undeniable status as one of the best forwards in the European game at this moment in time?

As if he needed to, Mbappe reminded us all of his quality in coming off the bench for Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League quarter final against Atalanta, turning around a match which looked set to send the French side crashing out of the competition in humiliating fashion.

It was the sort of performance that only bolstered further the widespread belief that Mbappe is the sport’s next great superstar. And the sort of display that surely had Zidane along with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez dreaming of seeing the Frenchman in all white at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Until the global coronavirus pandemic struck, it seemed likely that Real Madrid would make their move for Mbappe this summer. The forward’s PSG contract ends in the summer of 2022 and reports have consistently stated that he is putting off signing an extension, keeping his options open as long as possible.

Now, though, noises are coming out of the Santiago Bernabeu that Real Madrid won’t have much money to spend this summer. Any transfers they do make will have to be funded by the sale of players already on their books, perhaps explaining why Los Blancos accepted an offer of €40 million from Inter for Achraf Hakimi earlier in the summer.

It appears highly unlikely that Real Madrid will be able to raise the funds required for a move for Mbappe and so the Frenchman is expected to stay at PSG for at least another season. Many believe it is his destiny to one day become a ‘Galactico,’ but another summer looks set to come and go with the French forward still not pulling on the famous white shirt.

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Neymar must prove himself versus Atalanta

Expectations are on Paris Saint-Germain to at least reach the final of this season’s Champions League following the restart.

The French champions are set to take on Atalanta in their single-legged quarter-final on Wednesday, to setup a semi-final with either Atletico Madrid or RB Leipzig.

Diego Simeone’s side have not been their usual selves this season, though they did go unbeaten in La Liga following the restart, albeit only winning three of their 11 games by more than one goa.

As for RB Leipzig, they face an uphill task to get past the Spaniards in the quarter-finals, let alone PSG or Atalanta, solely because of the sale of Timo Werner to Chelsea following the end of the 2019-20 Bundesilga campaign.

The German hotshot had been responsible for 28 of their 81 league goals this past season and four of their 14 in the Champions League.

PSG’s first task though is to overcome an Atalanta side who themselves went their first 12 games unbeaten following the restart, winning nine, and finishing third to qualify for next season’s competition too.

The Italian side also kept four clean sheets during that run, a marked improvement to the first part of the season, also beating both Lazio and Napoli, and drawing 2-2 with champions Juventus, who relied on two penalties for their equalisers.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s are set to be without star midfielder Josip Ilicic due to depression though, but Paris Saint-Germain themselves don’t have a full bill of health.

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Neymar v Mbappe who is the best player at PSG?

PSG have in theory the deadliest strike force in the world. Neymar is the Brazilian superstar who scores goals, is a proven winner and has some of the most silkiest skills known to any football player. He is a star, he glitters and remains Brazil’s hope for any international trophies.

Then the champions have Kylian Mbappe, a player who won the World Cup at 19, is a goal scoring machine, looks awesome and fearsome and awesome coming forward, did we say awesome? Well because he is, and the fun part is that he is so young and we still have so many years to praise him. The Frenchman certainly is the real deal.

It’s good that the two superstars get along too- the same can’t be said of Neymar and Edinson Cavani who have had plenty of run ins in the past. But for the most part Neymar and Mbappe have been able to put their egos aside and work together.

It is mind boggling when you think that they are the two biggest world transfers in history- and play for the same team. They have cost PSG nearly 400m euros and let’s not even get started on their wages.

So with the tail of the tape over, do the players come out equal? Is one better than the other? Who has had the best season for example? Who scores more goals and creates the most assists? If PSG had to lose one player which do you think they would prefer to lose and sell?

Since joining PSG in 2017 Neymar has played 82 games in all competitions and has scored 70 goals, that is an incredible return. In the league he has played 52 times and scored 47 goals. Neymar’s consistency has been fantastic. True this past season he was dogged with injuries and a controversial want away move to Barcelona which upset the fans. But each time he came back into the team he ended up being the difference and getting the winning goals and has ultimately helped PSG to an historic treble this season.

Mbappe joined Neymar in the same season although his first one was through a loan. In his debut season he scored 13 goals but it was in his 2nd season where he broke through netting an incredible 33 in the league. In league games he has scored 64 goals from 76 games and overall he has netted 90 goals in just 121 appearances. Mbappe is just 21 and has already won 10 major trophies.

This season Mbappe did play more games than Neymar and scored 18 goals and assisted in 5 goals. Neymar assisted in 6. The stats go to prove that PSG have spent their money wisely, these two are genuinely brilliant players. There really is very little separating them.

A draw is probably the best outcome as to who is the best right now, we have had 3 seasons to figure them out and still there s nothing in it, let’s hope Neymar stays and we get a 4th season. Or perhaps one of them will come to the fore in the Champions League and make all the difference for PSG to pick up their first European Cup later this month. For now PSG should be glad that they have both of these incredible talents in their team at the same time. Fans sure are.

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Mbappe to miss Atalanta tie

Paris Saint-Germain will be without Kylian Mbappe for their single legged Champions League quarter-final tie against Atalanta.

The game is set to be played at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz in Lisbon on Wednesday 12 August.

Mbappe sustained an ankle injury in Friday night’s French Cup final and is expected to be out for three weeks. He left the stadium on crutches.

PSG confirmed Kylian Mbappe’s injury today, saying scans showed “an ankle sprain with damage to the external ligament.”

“The player is expected to be sidelined for approximately three weeks.”

The Parisians were 1-0 winners thanks to Neymar‘s goal in the 14th minute to claim the domestic double. Thomas Tuchel’s side were awarded the Ligue 1 title at the end of the April following France’s division to suspend play indefinitely.

Tuchel has plenty of options in attack, with Mauro Icardi and Neymar expected to be part of the front three next month. Attacking midfielder Pablo Sarabia replaced the injured Mbappe on Friday.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Mouting and Julian Draxler were both among the substitutes. The French champions will be without Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier, who both left on a free transfer when their contracts expired on 1 July.

Kylian Mbappe scored 18 goals in 20 Ligue 1 appearances (17 starts) in the disrupted Ligue 1 season, adding a further five assists. The 21-year-old scored five goals in seven Champions League appearances (5 starts).

The French Cup final was the Parisians’ first competitive game since mid-March, which could play a role in their match against Atalanta.

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Could Icardi’s permanent PSG move mean Neymar is leaving for Barcelona?

It was to no one’s surprise that French league champions PSG decided to sign Mauro Icardi on a permanent deal in the last few days. Icardi will now join PSG as a full time member after the transfer went through for €50m. That looks like a bargain for PSG who before the Covid-19 pandemic were looking at €70m to get the players services.

Icardi has signed up to play in Paris until 2024 and the deal was a no-brainer given how the Italian had fared over the course of this season when brought in on loan. Icardi slipped right into the team and with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe missing chunks of games through injury Icardi stepped up and never looked out of the place in the team. In the league alone Icardi scored 12 goals from just 20 games and overall in all competitions he was able to find the back of the net 20 times from just 31 games. At only 27 Icardi has the best years of his football career ahead of him, and whilst this will be a loss to Inter it is a huge gain for PSG.

Though with the pandemic and football clubs losing millions over the last few months financially the deal to let Icardi leave the San Siro does make sense, and it is probably one that the Inter fans will be able to accept and understand.

As for PSG they now have 3 full time golden strikers in Icardi, Neymar and Mbappe but with them agreeing to take on Icardi full time the old story of Neymar leaving will surely rise once again. It does feel that Neymar’s return to Barcelona has been on the cards the very minute he signed a surprise deal at the time to join PSG which of course broke the transfer record and is still the highest at a reported €220m. That record looks like it will remain intact for some time after the pandemic has affected everyone from a financial standpoint.

Money is certainly a problem right now in football and huge transfers just don’t seem feasible. So if Neymar is to rejoin Barcelona one could suspect a few players swaps, a small ‘down payment’ fee and perhaps an initial loan deal back. At the end of the day PSG has the squad to win the next few French league titles and certainly next season will be the big odds on favourites, so in all honesty do they really need Neymar, who could well be dragging his feet next season?

Neymar has been brilliant for the club so far though has come up a little short in helping them in Europe and keeps getting niggling injuries. His departure would feel a little hollow looking at his achievements, but he has scored many goals and inspired so many extra points for the club, despite some of the circus that has surrounded him little can doubt his natural ability.

Whilst Ligue 1 ended early the Champions League has not and that is set to resume in August with PSG still in the competition- could Neymar take the club all the way and end his career at PSG on a high? That will be the question on everyone’s minds in Paris as it looks more and more inevitable that he will leave the club sooner rather than later.

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