Thursday, 30 August 2012

PSG's start to the season - quelle merde(reau)

I’ve been on holiday to France on a regular basis over the last eight years, but never have I had such an eye-opening trip as the one from which I have just returned.

This is because my in-laws have retired and moved to the country, so Mrs PSGT and I spent the first seven days of our vacation with them in the middle of nowhere. Here are some differences I noticed between Paris and la campagne:

-          In the country it’s acceptable, nay expected, that you stare at strangers. I was gawped at so often that I felt like I was in a zoo.
-          Wife-beater vests are mandatory for country men of all ages and states of physical fitness.
-          Getting good bread is a challenge so difficult that it would stump Stephen Hawking.
-          In the country no one bats an eyelid that one of the supermarkets is called Le Mutant. I wasn’t able to confirm whether Wolverine works on the check-outs.
-          There’s a river called  Le Merdereau. Even those of you who don’t speak French must realise why this is funny.

What a relief it was to drive to the capital and spend five days in civilization. Unfortunately I wasted a couple of hours of my holiday on Ajaccio vs Paris Saint-Germain, a mind-numbing 0-0 draw which was about as appealing as taking a swim in the aforementioned waterway.

In fact, PSG’s overall start to the season has been a seemingly never-ending river of shit. The Ajaccio stale-mate was preceded by a 2-2 draw with Lorient, which saw Zlatan score twice in the second half after Christian Gourcuff’s side had surged into an unlikely 2-0 lead. Then on Sunday Bordeaux came to the Parc-des-Princes and ground out a 0-0 draw.

For me Carlo Ancelotti has got his team selection wrong in two of the games so far, and you worry that he doesn’t really seem to know his best XI. The Lorient match saw him select a midfield trio of Bodmer, Chantome, and Verratti, none of whom provide the defensive stability offered by the benched Blaise Matuidi. As a result, PSG got over-run in the centre of midfield in the first half, and could’ve gone in at the break trailing by more than two goals.

The Bordeaux game saw Menez relegated to the subs bench to accommodate Zlatan, who missed the Ajaccio clash through injury, and PSG struggled to break down the massed ranks of Les Girondins back-line. Now granted Jezza was in particularly rancid form against Ajaccio, but without him and suspended Lavezzi we lacked the pace and direct running to stretch Bordeaux, and chances were at a premium.

It’s easy to be wise after the event of course, and it’s certainly not time to hit the panic button. PSG have what on paper is their toughest match of the season so far coming up this Sunday, when they go to Lille, but I feel this could work to our advantage. There won’t be the same pressure on the team there has been in the last three games, where they have been overwhelming favourites, and Lille are sure to show more attacking intent than our last two opponents (I’ll exclude the excellent Lorient from that comment) meaning our forwards should have more space in which to operate.

Before that we have the excitement of this evening’s Champions League group stage draw. PSG are in pot three, along with Lille, Olympiakos, Ajax, Anderlecht, Juventus, Spartak Moscow, and Galatasaray.

The full seedings are listed here, and below are what I consider the best and worst case scenarios:

Group of Death: Real Madrid, Manchester City, PSG, Borussia Dortmund.

Group of, er, Life: Milan, Braga, PSG, Cluj

All will be revealed when the draw begins at 4.45pm BST.


Externo said...

Great blog mate.

A fellow "Parisien" from México.

Matthew Gooding said...

Thanks buddy, were you dancing in the streets of Mexico after yesterday's result? :)

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