Champions League, PSG: a guilty and worrying lack of offensive realism


By: Manu Tournoux

Asked numerous times about the possible lack of offensive realism of his troops, Luis Enrique prefers to laugh about it. No, to his taste – or rather to his eyes – Paris Saint-Germain is not failing in this sector of play. “It is very funny. If we have a finishing problem, what do the other (teams) have? We have a team which scores three goals per match, which creates ten chances against Champions League teams like Newcastle… If we have a finishing problem, what do the others have? It’s a game of mistakes. I would be concerned if we didn’t have any chances. There are days when it fits and days when it doesn’t. That’s football, that’s life.”railed, as such, the person concerned during a recent press conference.

PSG has again harvested at all costs!

However, on Wednesday evening, the capital club once again showed disconcerting waste around the Borussia Dortmund area. So, yes, thanks to a draw (1-1) achieved with forceps and a victory (2-1) for AC Milan on the Newcastle lawn, qualification for the round of 16 of the Champions League is assured but the too many offensive situations missed by the Parisians cannot be forgotten. Note, first of all, that PSG only scored six small shots out of the 18 attempts attempted at Signal Iduna Park. Grape harvesters, Kylian Mbappé’s teammates finally thanked their… midfielder, Warren Zaire-Emery, scorer of the equalizing goal just before the hour mark (56th). For the rest ? It was, above all, a festival of failures, sometimes crude and necessarily guilty at that level.

Symbol of this inability to complete the actions, the incredible miss from Kang-In Lee after a quarter of an hour of play. Served behind by Randal Kolo Muani, the 22-year-old South Korean, absent from the debates and replaced in the 68th minute. minute of play by Manuel Ugarte, crossed his shot too much despite a more than ideal position (16th). Unfortunately for PSG, the former Mallorca player is far from the only one to blame in this area. Still not very sharp offensively, Randal Kolo Muani, credited with a 3.5 by the FM editorial team, did not stand out in the best way either. Ideally served by Kylian Mbappé, the former Eintracht Frankfurt scorer perfectly resisted the return of Mats Hummels but also crossed his outside too much, finally failing close to the post of a very happy Gregor Kobel (24th). Overall too imprecise, the former Nantes player missed another opportunity just before the break when he saw his shot perfectly repelled by the last rampart of the Marsupiaux (45th).

Offensive efficiency to be corrected quickly…

Unable, during almost the entire match, to find the fault against the Swiss goalkeeper, PSG also had bad luck. What can we say, for example, about this action signed by Kylian Mbappé at the start of the match and finally stopped, miraculously, by Niklas Süle. Launched from deep, the Bondynois eliminated the captain of the Marsupiaux and thought, in fact, to open the scoring without a last-minute save from the German defender on his line (17th). For his part, Bradley Barcola, once impactful before disappearing over the minutes and being replaced by the too discreet Marco Asensio, also lacked success. Staggered by the Parisian number 7 on a counter-attack well carried out by the Ile-de-France team, the former Lyonnais saw his curled shot end on the BvB post (19th). Once again too tender, at the end of the match, when finishing in front of the goal (79th), the new Parisian recruit never knew how to make the difference against the Schwarz-Gelben. Often present to bring his team out of torpor, Mbappé, very altruistic against the Marsupials, was still furious when his goal was finally refused for an offside position at the start of the action (77th).

“There are many things to improve, the finishing detail is important. We had chances in the first half, if we had them, the match would have changed a lot. The coach will analyze this, we too, talk to each other. But there is improvement in our away performance, it is very important, after Newcastle and Milan. We have to grow, work towards the next stage to be better. There have been improvements, we want to have the ball, press high, we take risks at the back, we are often one against one. It’s normal, we work on our strength which is not to wait behind the opponent, the coach focuses on that. This is our philosophy, the coach always says that we are far from what he wants for his team. We will grow little by little, there have been a lot of changes this year, new players who are adapting to Paris and what is around it. With training, matches, time, we will all resolve that”analyzed Marquinhos, very fragile on the Dortmund lawn.

…despite Luis Enrique’s clear-cut speech!

“Sometimes that’s how football is, the balls don’t want to go in. We had plenty of opportunities, there are only positives for the future. Of course we have to score as many goals as possible, but we have the chances, that’s the most important thing. We will resolve this to be the most efficient in C1 and in the Championship”for his part tempered Warren Zaire-Emery at the microphone of RMC Sport. Unlucky at times, clumsy at others, Luis Enrique’s men came up against the 26-year-old goalkeeper in turn. Once again served in ideal conditions by Mbappé, Achraf Hakimi had little more success when it came time to finish (49th). Too slow, the Moroccan piston could only note the damage, a few seconds later, when Karim Adeyemi finally punished PSG for their clumsiness. If the most optimistic will carefully keep in mind the qualification and the new major performance achieved by Warren Zaire-Emery, this lack of offensive realism is nevertheless worrying. To illustrate this, note, in this respect, that at half-time of this shock against BvB, PSG had not managed to find the net on its last 52 shots in the Champions League, except for the penalty from Kylian Mbappé against Newcastle (1-1) on the previous day.

A figure as worrying as it is telling which will, however, not (yet) have the merit of alarming a certain Luis Enrique. “That doesn’t worry me at all. We are the team that creates the most chances. What concerns me is the lack of control, when we lose the balls, when the match becomes a back and forth match. I’m thinking about solutions. But not inefficiency. We have great scorers”, insisted the Spaniard at a press conference. Despite this new clear media release and the more than flattering offensive record of the capital club in Ligue 1 – best attack in the championship with 38 goals in 15 days – this lack of performance near the surface remains worrying. Second in its group at the end of the group stage, PSG should, in fact, find a big client during the round of 16. With this in mind, there is no doubt that such an offensive performance could end up causing irreversible damage and putting an end to the European ambitions of an entire club. Aware of the stakes, Luis Enrique – who also assured that his team would be “much stronger in February” – now has a few weeks to find the keys and allow his protégés to become much more deadly in the zone of truth…

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