New season. New Manager. Same problems for PSG. PSG might count themselves unlucky to have left Liverpool with nothing to show for their troubles after clawing back to tie the game, but even if they had managed to hold on to a point the world was educated on the fact that the Ligue 1 Champions aren’t close to establishing themselves as true elites of the game. PSG want to eat at the table of the elites, but one cannot show up at a fine dining restaurant dressed as if they are swinging by a Burger King drive-thru to collect a whopper.
It doesn’t take a genius to identify the problem area in Thomas Tuchel’s PSG team. But if you are caught unaware – against Liverpool once again Tuchel had to turn to center back Marquinhos to fulfill a defensive midfield role. With Marco Verratti, a player called out last season due to his failure to deliver when needed, suspended, the Brazilian was joined in midfield by Angel Di Maria and Adrien Rabiot. Marquinhos, Di Maria and Rabiot. This a midfield that anyone who fancies themselves would be happy to come up against.
The trio lined up against a Liverpool trio in Milner, Henderson, and Wijnaldum that has performed so well that when they threw on £40m man Fabinho for his bleep test/first minutes as a Liverpool player in added time it felt as if Jurgen Klopp was insulting his opponents by showing off the riches at his disposal. Keep in mind Naby Keita wasn’t even summoned and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a long term absentee.
The sad part is – PSG’s midfield concerns are nothing new and it is somewhat mystifying that this past summer saw no midfield arrivals despite the retirement of Thiago Motta, the sale of Javier Pastore, and the puzzling loaning out of Giovani Lo Celso. No matter what style of football a team tries to employ, a quality midfield capable of carrying out their respective duties and roles is needed for success. PSG simply do not have the pieces required. Quality is missing in the PSG midfield in the same manner the rain is missing in the desert.
How has this happened?
How is it that a team that boasts the riches of PSG and has the aim of claiming Champions League success possesses a midfield that should be ridiculed? Well, according to Thiago Silva, we should look no further than Sporting Director Antero Henrique.
“What were Marquinhos and Di Maria doing in midfield positions they usually don’t play at? I don’t know, you gotta ask Henrique.”