LOSC – PSG: unease grows around Kylian Mbappé!


By: Manu Tournoux

The sequence will not have escaped anyone. Sunday evening, at the end of the 16th day of Ligue 1, Kylian Mbappé did not want to celebrate his 16th goal in the championship. A perfectly transformed penalty after having wished “good luck” to his Lille counterpart, powerless on the cross strike from the Parisian number 7. Was he bitter? Still marked by this timid end to his team’s match on the Borussia Dortmund pitch or simply unhappy with this position at the forefront of the Ile-de-France attack? It’s difficult to know, especially after the response from Luis Enrique, quickly questioned about his protégé’s sulks. “You’ll have to ask him. I celebrated the goal”launched the former coach of La Roja at the microphone of Prime Video.

Mbappé, alarming behavior

One thing is certain, the 24-year-old Frenchman, credited with a 5 by the FM editorial team, was not in his right mood this Sunday evening at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium. Embarrassed, or not, by this assumed desire of Luis Enrique to realign him, the former Monegasque thus had very little influence in the Parisian game. Far from his usual standards (17 balls touched in the first period) and despite this goal scored (66th), Mbappé generally struggled to make a difference in one-on-ones (30th, 57th, 74th, 77th). Blocked by the impressive Lille central hinge formed by Alexsandro and Leny Yoro, tracked by PSG for the next winter transfer window, the Bondynois, who had already been guilty of a lost ball very close to costing his team a goal (90 +2nd), could ultimately only see the damage on the last minute equalizer from Jonathan David, hero of the evening for the Mastiffs. Far from the impeccable state of mind displayed at Signal Iduna Park – the stakes were too high – KM7 distinguished itself by behavior that was more questionable than ever.

Little involved, particularly in his play without the ball, he never tried to block the first Lille restarts. A way of expressing his rejection for this role of number 9? It’s difficult to know but Luis Enrique seems, whatever it may be, to accept this choice. Already lined up at this point of the pitch in the second half against Newcastle (1-1) then, since then, at Le Havre (2-0), against Nantes (2-1) and at Dortmund (1-1), Mbappé has, in fact, completed four and a half matches in a central position, despite the presence of Randal Kolo Muani, who returned to the left side in place of Barcola this Sunday evening, and Marco Asensio, replacing Ousmane Dembélé on the right flank, or even Gonçalo Ramos, currently unavailable. So, yes, the Bondynois has struck again, becoming the first French player in history to reach the 50 goal mark in 3 consecutive years (51 in 2021, 56 in 2022, 50 in 2023) but his attitude does not can be left without analysis…

The role of number 9 at the origin of the discomfort?

In a context that is more heated than ever on the contractual level – the person concerned is at the end of his contract in June 2024 and will be free to discuss with the club he wishes from next January – is this role of number 9 not definitely blasé the Habs? We remember, in this respect, the famous “pivot gang” of last season where Mbappé had already displayed his dissatisfaction after a draw conceded against Reims. Asked about this choice to align the Parisian star in a central role, Luis Enrique, who does not seem to take gloves with his protégé, did not weaken. “I’ve said it many times before: the only difference in each match is who is going to accompany him? Either on the sides or more in the axis. You can ask me this question a million times, it will always be the same answer”hammered the former Barça coach at a press conference.

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Questioned a few minutes earlier about the morose performance of his attacker in this 9 position, the 53-year-old Spaniard recalled, despite everything, that the 1m78 right-hander had total freedom. “Kylian plays where he decides. He has complete freedom to play inside, more on the side. If he is further outside, it is up to us to balance our positions. The difference is who will follow Kylian, an outside or inside attacker? It depends on the match.. One thing is certain, this role of number 9, already assigned to Kolo Muani, Ramos and Asensio, has so far not been a real success for PSG. With only one goal in the game in the last four meetings where he played in this position, Kylian Mbappé seems, today, to express unease. A situation which could quickly become unbearable and which will necessarily have to be discussed internally. While waiting to discover the team composition lined up by Luis Enrique for the reception of Metz, next Wednesday at the Parc des Princes, PSG, already assured of the symbolic title of autumn champion, will know its future this Monday opponent in the round of 16 of the Champions League…

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