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PSG v Arsenal – the early team news

By Bulldog Drummond.

Last year on 13 March, Paris Saint Germain won the French Ligue 1 title for the fourth successive time.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored four on that day as they beat bottom club Troyes 9-0 and became the first team to win the championship after 30 matches.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Paris Saint-Germain (C) 38 30 6 2 102 19 +83 96
2 Lyon 38 19 8 11 67 43 +24 65
3 Monaco 38 17 14 7 57 50 +7 65
4 Nice 38 18 9 11 58 41 +17 63
5 Lille 38 15 15 8 39 27 +12 60
6 Saint-Étienne 38 17 7 14 42 37 +5 58
7 Caen 38 16 6 16 39 52 −13 54
8 Rennes 38 13 13 12 52 54 −2 52
9 Angers 38 13 11 14 40 38 +2 50
10 Bastia 38 14 8 16 36 42 −6 50
11 Bordeaux 38 12 14 12 50 57 −7 50
12 Montpellier 38 14 7 17 49 47 +2 49
13 Marseille 38 10 18 10 48 42 +6 48
14 Nantes 38 12 12 14 33 44 −11 48
15 Lorient 38 11 13 14 47 58 −11 46
16 Guingamp 38 11 11 16 47 56 −9 44
17 Toulouse 38 9 13 16 45 55 −10 40
18 Reims (R) 38 10 9 19 44 57 −13 39
19 Gazélec Ajaccio (R) 38 8 13 17 37 58 −21 37
20 Troyes (R) 38 3 9 26 28 83 −55 18

Thus we might expect this season more of the same.  Ibrahimovic has gone but the money is still there.  And a look at the incoming suggests nothing more than a moderate let up…

No. Pos Player Transferred From Fee Date
21 MF Hatem Ben Arfa Nice Free  1 July 2016
23 MF Grzegorz Krychowiak Sevilla €25,000,000 3 Jul 2016
22 FW Jesé Real Madrid €25,000,000 8 Aug 2016
12 DF Thomas Meunier Club Brugge €7,000,000 3 July 2016
MF Giovani Lo Celso Rosario Central €15,000,000 26 July 2016

Some players left – David Luiz to Chelsea for example, but even so, the pre-season suggested more of the same.   They beat West Brom in an opening warm up 2-1, then beat Inter Milan 3-1, did the same to Real Mad and finally beat Leicester 4-0.

Another record season, the league won by Christmas, that sort of thing, is what we might expect.

On 12 August the League programme started and PSG beat Bastia 0-1 away and followed that with a 3-0 home win over Metz.  But then came a 3-1 away defeat to last year’s runners’ up Monaco.  This past friday (using the co-operation of the French League which is utterly unknown in England towards clubs in Europe) they played St Etienne and drew 1-1.

Here’s the league table

P W D L F A GD Pts
1 AS Monaco 4 3 1 0 10 4 +6 10
2 OGC Nice 4 3 1 0 6 3 +3 10
3 FC Metz 4 3 0 1 8 5 +3 9
4 Girondins de Bordeaux 4 3 0 1 8 7 +1 9
5 EA Guingamp 4 2 2 0 7 4 +3 8
6 Stade Rennais FC 4 2 1 1 5 2 +3 7
7  Paris Saint-Germain 4 2 1 1 6 4 +2 7

Compared with the Premier League

P W D L F A GD
1 Manchester City 4 4 0 0 11 4 7 12
2 Chelsea 4 3 1 0 9 4 5 10
3 Manchester Utd 4 3 0 1 7 3 4 9
4 Tottenham Hotspur 4 2 2 0 7 2 5 8
5 Liverpool 4 2 1 1 9 7 2 7
6 Arsenal 4 2 1 1 8 6 2 7
7 Hull City 4 2 1 1 5 3 2 7

So have we seen the end of endlessly spending PSG burning the money from Qatar?

They have a new manager, Unai Emery, replacing Laurent Blanc in June, and already he has had lots of criticism of course, because the media in France works pretty much the way it works in the UK.   The club has a lot of injuries and don’t necessarily have a very strong squad, it’s all going wrong, the manager’s an idiot, you know the sort of thing.

Ibrahimovic could have been offered a new contract but wasn’t – and there was a case made that he and David Luiz held back the development of new players.

But the disruption, if there was disruption, came because David Luiz left on transfer deadline day.  It might have been good business (selling him back at the price paid) but PSG never did that sort of thing before, and apparently Luiz made a big contribution to the well-being of the team in the dressing room.  Besides Emery has said he wanted Luiz to stay.

So is the sponsor/owner getting cold feet?

Adrien Rabiot, has also been talking about how he loved his time in England, and wouldn’t mind coming back despite having talked a lot about how much he loves PSG and being in Paris.  Marco Verratti said much the same sort of thing recently.

There is also a story to the effect that PSG didn’t pay Zlatan Ibrahimovic his final bonus payment because they are waiting for a document that Ibrahimovic is obliged to provide to get the money.

Ibrahimovic has spoken in public about the affair (of course), and it all seems odd since the club is simply not short of a hundred billion euros or two unless the price of gas really has collapsed of late.

All of this has made a few local fans a little nervous – to the extent that they are not seeing PSG as the obvious favourites to win at least five of their six games and sail through at the top of the league.

But Unai Emery who won the Europa League three times running with Sevilla said, “It can’t be a season of transition. I think we’re going to try and improve as a team to achieve great results. We have lofty goals, and we thrive on that. We have to. Anyone who comes to Paris Saint-Germain knows there will be a lot of pressure, and that comes with having big targets. I am happy with that.”

Anyway it is reported that the press in Paris are giving Emery a bit of a hard time and he is losing his cool a little although he recently said, “The team look good to me.  But that said, we didn’t win the last two games. But the team are well aware of how we go forward, and what we need to do to progress and win. I’ve assessed the whole squad, all the squad, and they’ve all looked me in the eye. It’s exactly the same as it was on the first day. It’s about working hard, being tenacious, being confident and optimistic. But hard work is the most important thing.

“The most important thing for me is the team. The players. To be with them, to see how they’re getting on. I’m pleased with what I’m seeing. They’re looking good. It’s trickier when you lose games, of course, but they’re looking good. How do you allay the doubts? With hard work and by improving. I have belief in the team. I think they will improve in every position, including in goal. I have confidence in them.”

But those injuries are still there.   Thiago Silva (who hasn’t played yet), Layvin Kurzawa, Javier Pastore and Serge Aurier have greater or lesser degrees of problems – although Thiago Silva could now return.  “He has worked hard to be available for the team, to come back very quickly. He’s an important player for an important game, so there is a chance for him to be involved. Big matches are made for big players.”

Laurent Koscielny of course is doubtful for us, following a kick in the face.  “It is a little concern,” Arsène Wenger said. “It’s already very swollen.”

Wenger was, as we might expect, full of praise for Koscielny, who is captain while Per Mertesacker is recovering from a long-term injury. “He is one of the most experienced players we have now here,” the manager said.

“He is one of the longest-serving defenders and I think he is one of our best players. When I think about the squad, when you choose a captain as well, you think of one with a good chance to play in every single game and that’s not easy nowadays. He has committed to the club for a long contract and he has always improved every year. Today he is an outstanding centre-back.”

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12 comments to PSG v Arsenal – the early team news

  • Nonny

    Although the 2 teams have similar records this season on their various leagues, judging by the strength of the two leagues, I think Arsenal are doing better and have a better squad and hope this translates to a good result in Paris.

  • Leon

    Wenger has confirmed that Kos will be fit for the match.

  • Gord

    The report on the U18 win over Southampton is up. I didn’;t pay attention before, but is only 4 substitutes the rule in that league? Both teams seem to only have 4.

    Nice to see Koscielny and the doctors got the swelling under control on that facial injury. I still think the referee should be censured for not catching that.

  • Gord

    Yet another article about van Dijk trying to destroy the penalty spot. I think that should get him at least one game suspension, not just a single yellow card.

  • Gord

    Alternatively, Arsenal should send him (and Southampton) a bill for replacement of turf (the entire field).

  • Andy Mack

    When did Adrien Rabiot play in England and who for?

  • Porter

    If the ref had stopped the game for Kos there would have been no penalty and two points lost.

  • Andy Mack

    Porter, Yes. Your point?

  • para

    Bring on PSG. Should be a good game.

    //
    Intersting “the breakdown” – arsenal.com
    Mustafi – Touched ball more than anyone else, 96 times.
    Perez – Topped distance running, sprints and speed.

    Won’t be long before they are integrated.

  • Ando

    Andy Mack,
    See Gord’s comment at 9.06
    That would seem to explain Porter’s 10.52

  • Menace

    Gord – I think the term ‘gardening leave’ would be appropriate for van Dijk……3 games & 2 weeks wages.

  • Nonny

    He just spent a few months as a youth player in Man City in 2008. Nothing important.

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