Monday, 1 August 2011

The Emirates Cup and other stories

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Managers always argue results in pre-season are meaningless, but losing to a team named after an energy drink can never be a good thing.

PSG fielded two different sides for their Emirates Cup matches over the weekend, and achieved very different results.

On Saturday a team with a strong defence (Sirigu, Bisevac, Sahko) and a second-string attack (Erding, Luinduyla, Baheback) was beaten 1-0 by the New York Red Bulls, failing to break down the MLS side despite enjoying plenty of the ball.

Then on Sunday the attacking big-guns (Nene, Gameiro, Hoarau) were wheeled out for the clash with Boca Juniors, and the team performed much better, winning 3-0 with Hoarau, Jean-Eudes Maurice, and Marco Ceara finding the net.

While it was very much a weakened Boca outfit, there were certainly some positives to take from Sunday’s game. The way the front four – Nene, Gameiro, Hoarau and Neeskens Kebano – linked up was pretty slick. Hoarau in particular did his chances of winning a place in the side no harm at all with a good all-round performance and a typical headed goal.

Unfortunately for the Reunionnaise he may have to bludgeon his way past a Javier Pastore-shaped obstacle to get on to the pitch. Speaking after the match, Leonardo said the €43 move for the Palermo playmaker was almost complete.

“We're close,” said Leo. “There is a very good relationship between us and between Palermo and the player and us. This makes us optimistic.”

As if one marquee signing wasn’t enough, reports this morning suggest a €20million bid has been lodged for Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov.

If true this strikes me as a completely unnecessary move. The front end of the team looks pretty damn sexy already, but at the back the squad is short on depth.

Despite a decent performance from teenage keeper Alphonse Areola, Boca penetrated PSG’s back-line with alarming ease, and if QSI feel the urge to splash the cash again, perhaps it would be better spent on a centre-back to provide competition and/or cover for Sahko and Bisevac.


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