PSG, dominated by Manchester City, still shows its limits

Lionel Messi and Neymar after PSG's loss to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on November 24, 2021.

The essential is assured, but Paris-Saint-Germain (PSG) has nothing to do with it, after their 2-1 defeat in Manchester, Wednesday, November 24. Thanks to the large victory of RB Leipzig in Bruges (0-5), PSG will take up its winter quarters for the tenth season in a row in the knockout stages of the Champions League. The minimum union. Next January, the Parisians are likely to fish for “big”, with a first pool, like Livepool, Bayern Munich, Chelsea or Juventus.

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Guaranteed to finish second in group A even before the reception of Bruges in the 6e and last day, December 7, Mauricio Pochettino’s players can at least rejoice not to immediately cross paths with the Citizens. Thanks to the UEFA regulations to avoid early reunions between two teams from the same group. Pretty good news.

There is defeat and there is the general impression. At this level, Paris ran into the void and behind the ball, which is the lot of visitors to the Etihad Stadium. “City is a team that controls the match, which plays from one side to the other, which makes us switch…”, summed up at the microphone of Canal + a Marquinhos no more surprised than that by this domination.

But in the space of thirteen minutes, Captain Courage and his partners have nevertheless almost carried out a small robbery, one of those we do not really prepare. On a cross deflected from a Lionel Messi covered with an invisibility cloak Wednesday night, Kylian Mbappé adjusts Ederson with a strike with the right foot in the 50e minute. It’s cold, it’s clinical on the part of the man in form of PSG, but it is especially very well paid for a team abused until then.

Before the break, the Parisian defense held an annex of the Lourdes miracles commission. Presnel Kimpembe and Achraf Hakimi head away two balls promised to come and whip the nets of Keylor Navas. The Costa Rican goalkeeper also performs his few regulatory saves to keep this 0-0 trompe-l’oeil. “They were better than us in the first half, there was a real difference”, recognized Mauricio Pochettino on RMC Sport.

In almost all sectors. Deprived of a Marco Verratti injured the day before in training, PSG lacked mastery and creativity in the midfield, while the trio formed by Messi, Mbappé and Neymar remains a matter of complementarity and defensive withdrawal.

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Pochettino always asks for time

This PSG has the right to progress collectively and to hope for a Messi finally well in his crampons in Paris.

But whatever the bottle, there was at least the drunkenness. At least until Manchester City is rewarded for his domination and his constancy in ideas, that of his manager Pep Guardiola and his taste, for example, for the game without a center forward. On two wing changes, the English put the Parisian defense out of position for the equalization of Raheem Sterling (63e) then a 2-1 goal from the incoming, Gabriel Jesus (76e).

On arrival, there is never a goal difference between the two teams. In the heat of the moment, the main ones concerned had the impression of not being so far away. Marquinhos evokes the famous “Details”, that portmanteau easy to carry after a defeat. Kimpembe seems to have seen another match. “We did some good things, others less good, it’s a game where we should have been more killers on the chances we got, even though they had a lot of them on their side. ” We will not contradict him on this last point at least.

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This PSG has the right to progress collectively and to hope for a Messi finally well in his crampons in Paris, a Verratti out of the infirmary and a Mbappé always so sparkling. Still, a year after his arrival, Mauricio Pochettino still gives the impression of being a coach in transit. The Argentinian still demands time, always time “To improve in all sectors” by January with a blank calendar of all international gatherings.

But the one that the British press announces to Manchester United with insistence, will he still be at the head of PSG at that time? After asking the Canal + journalist to repeat the question twice to him, he smiled and released a simple “Thank you” before slipping away. Move on, there was nothing more to see for tonight.


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