tweaks in defence, lack of realism and depth on the bench… Paris weighed down by its recurring limitations

Despite numerous opportunities to open the scoring, PSG, betrayed by their defense and lack of realism, lost against Rennes (2-0) on Sunday during matchday 28 of Ligue 1.

The end of Paris Saint-Germain’s season promises to be long. The Parisian club only has Ligue 1 to occupy its daily life, but it no longer shows any sign of dominance there. If their 11th French champion title seems to have already been acquired given the seven points advantage over runners-up, Marseille, PSG lost against Stade Rennes (2-0), on Sunday 20 March, during the 28th matchday of Ligue 1.

It is already his fourth defeat of the season, the fourth in 2023, the first at home but the second against Rennes. Christophe Galtier’s men have paid for their recent weaknesses.

A greatly weakened defense

Presnel Kimpembe, Nordi Mukiele, Achraf Hakimi, Sergio Ramos, Marquinhos: the Parisian defense looks great. The problem is that they are also the players present in the infirmary and not those lined up at the Parco dei Principi on Sunday. As a result, Christophe Galtier was forced to tinker by offering a rearguard with five defenders made up, in particular, of the young Timothée Pembélé (20 years) and El Chadaille Bitshiabu (17 years) or even left-back Juan Bernat, repositioned to the right of the central defense.

An experimental composition that logically struggled. First-time keeper since Feb. 11, Juan Bernat was the unlucky symbol. His misalignment on Benjamin Bourigeaud’s long ball allowed Karl Toko-Ekambi to open the scoring (1-0, 45th). His loss of the ball in midfield led to the second Breton goal, scored by former “titi” Arnaud Kalimuendo (2-0, 48th).

An obvious lack of bench depth

To try and breathe new life into his struggling team, Christophe Galtier had only meager solutions. At kick-off, the average age on the bench was 21.6 years, despite the 29 and 32 records of the two substitute goalkeepers, Sergio Rico and Alexandre Letellier. Like Warren Zaire-Emery (17), age is no fault if it follows talent, but among the nine substitutes, four have never started in Ligue 1.

Too insufficient for a club with PSG’s ambitions. In addition to the five defenders already mentioned, Carlos Soler and obviously Neymar are missing. Christophe Galtier has therefore only made three changes: Warren Zaire-Emery to move to the right piston position which is not his own, Renato Sanches who has accumulated just two minutes since February 4 and Hugo Ekitike, who seems increasingly prone to a casting error (four goals this season).

Gianluigi Donnarumma not imperial

We don’t know what Keylor Navas thought, present in the stands of the Parc des Princes, but we could easily guess it. loaned by PSG to Nottingham Forest to leave the place completely free for Gianluigi Donnarumma, the Costa Rican goalkeeper must have said he had nothing to envy to the Italian. The latter, who arrived in the capital in the summer of 2021, is unable to reassure behind a defense that really needs it.

In the opening of the score by Karl Toko Ekambi (1-0, 45th), the former Milanese, slow to go to the ground, touches the ball without having a hand steady enough to reject it. An image that recalls the only goal of the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 when Kingsley Coman scored for Bayern Munich (1-0).

A fatal lack of realism

Before being led to score, PSG had plenty of opportunities to score the first goal of the match. But Kylian Mbappé (25th, 26th, 40th, 64th) collided with a very tall Steve Mandanda like Lionel Messi (72nd) and Marco Verratti (84th) while Danilo Pereira missed his header (16th ).

Paris have had 17 shots on goal (compared to Rennes 10), including eight on target. Conversely, the Bretons scored twice from just three shots on target. A sensational difference in realism that had already almost cost PSG dearly in Brest (2-1). The Parisians finally win thanks to Mbappé, on the 17th shot of the match.

Add a Comment