Monday, April 22, 2019

The Paris Saint German conundrum

The Paris Saint German conundrum
March 10
15:53 2018

I was at the Paris Parc Des Princes last season to watch Arsenal earn a well-deserved draw against PSG in the Champions League.

I say well deserved because Arsenal kept plugging away and didn’t allow PSG’s many untaken goal opportunities deter them.

After that match, I wrote this article

Below is a quotation worthy of note from that article.

“PSG are definitely a team very much the victim of their own football philosophy of what I can interpret as always wanting to play beautiful football.  Many times, they got the ball in favourable position and instead of driving forward, they took one more touch, dribbled sideways to show their technical superiority over the Arsenal players and they capped this with some absolute piss poor conversion rates from scoring opportunities.”

Although I didn’t watch both of their matches against Real Madrid, I believe nothing has changed.

Taking the lead at the Bernabeu and losing 3 – 1 to two late goals is not a sign of matured footballers. Needing two clear goals to overturn the defending champions at home and then risking your £200m player in a domestic league you have sewn up is idiotic by any manager. Needing to make a statement and your £150m teenager refusing to square the ball to his strike partner for the team to take the lead in the home match is abominable.

I have a soft spot for PSG because I understand their chairman is a personal friend of Arsene Wenger. I was very pleased at the slap PSG gave Barcelona over Neymar. They might actually have inadvertently helped Barcelona solve a power problem in the dressing room, but who was to know this when they were bloodying Barcelona’s nose in the summer.

However I think the PSG chairman has been a bit misguided with his appointments, purchases and overall handling of the club. His mistakes should serve as a lesson to many clubs aspiring to better things and the fans of those clubs who want billionaires to underwrite their dream of winning trophies.

The appointment of Unai Emery I think is a wrong move. To be fair, this is with hindsight but Emery appears to be a manager/coach who gets the best out of grafters and not players who think they are made/stars. Asking Emery to manage the crybabies that PSG have acquired was wrong. He didn’t appear to manage the Neymar/Cavani ruckus well and it doesn’t appear Marco Verratti has matured emotionally since Emery started managing him.

Allowing Neymar to do the same thing in PSG that he complained about in Barcelona was wrong. Neymar was unhappy at the control Messi had in Barcelona and he now demands the same control in PSG and it appears as if the club caved into his demands. Ridiculous. Ship Cavani out or sort out any issues before they break out on the pitch.

Signing both Neymar and Mbappe for almost £400m and no superstar tough as nail defenders or beastly midfielders was poor. Why sign Dani Alves? This is at par with West Ham signing Pablo Zabaleta and Jose Fonte. They were good sometimes ago but not anymore. They should have shipped out a lot of their ‘poncy’ players in the summer.

I have seen at least one comment on a friend’s twitter handle saying this is why the Arsenal owner will not break the bank in pursuit of so called football holy grail.  There are simply no guarantees.

At a crucial point in the season, both of PSG’s star purchases suffered injury. One was season ending almost and the other reduced the effectiveness of one of the most exciting football talent on planet earth.

I wonder if the PSG chairman at this very moment thinks breaking the bank in the summer was worth it especially as they have pending UEFA FFP investigations and Mr. Neymar is toying with the idea of going back to Spain.  Surely not is my view.

I also wonder how PSG fans feel at this very moment. If I were one of them, I would have been part of the mob trying to disturb the sleep of Madrid fans the night before the UCL Round of 16, second leg match. Seeing however that it was all for nothing and the spending spree achieved zero, I think I would be very depressed as a fan at this moment.

Do I however prefer another UEFA ban that will prevent us from playing UCL effectively in the future or do I want the club I support to grow sustainably?

A sobering thought. One with no straightforward answers but the results this season suggests it might not have been worth it.

Baba Grumpy works in financial services in the United Kingdom. He blogs mostly about football at His Twitter handle is @BabaGrumpy


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