Saturday, 15 December 2012

PSG's December: the story so far

It's been a while since this blog was last updated.

I'd like to say this is because the large team of writers behind PSGT have been living it up in our secluded blogging bunker just off the Champs Elysees, surrounded by booze, coke, and hookers dressed in Jeremy Menez shirts, but the reality is a lot more mundane; I've been busy at work.

Anyway, enough with the excuses, here's a quick round-up of what's happened in the crazy world of PSG while we've been away.

December 1: Nice 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain

The beginning of December meant we were able to crack open this fabulous Kinder advent calendar which my mother-in-law sent over from France. Look at it! What a thing of beauty! Unfortunately PSG's performance against Claude Puel's side wasn't quite so sweet. The team struggled to get going, and inevitably fell behind in the 76th when some quite ridiculous defending from substitute Gregory van der Wiel allowed Cvitanich to twist and turn and set up Bautheac for a close range strike.

Ibra powered a free kick through to equaliser in the 82nd minute, but PSG's joy was short-lived, and Eysseric snuck in ahead of Maxwell and Alex to snatch a winner four minutes later.

The aftermath of the match was what I imagine it will be like come the END OF THE WORLD, with most experts agreeing PSG's season was doomed. Various reports also stated that Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, Harry Redknapp, Barry Fry, and Sven were all being lined up as possible replacements for the beleaguered Carletto. Leonardo's position - schmoozing with rich people and buying players from Serie A - is/was also said to be under threat.

December 4: Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Porto

Carletto promised big changes, and what we got were, er, well, changes. Mainly a subtle formation shift from 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1, with one of the holding midfielders sacrificed in favour of an attacking line of Lavezzi, Menez, and Pastore behind Zlatan.

It worked pretty well, and PSG hit the front when skipper Thiago Silva leapt like the proverbial salmon to head home a hanging free kick from Maxwell. Sadly the lead was short-lived, as our defence parted like the proverbial Red Sea to allow Martinez to slide in an equaliser moments later.

A draw would have been enough to see Porto top the group, and to their cost they sat back in the second period, and PSG took advantage thanks to some horrendous goalkeeping from Helton, who dropped a proverbial clanger by allowing Lavezzi's tame shot to sneak under him and into the net. So PSG progressed as group winners, and will be one of the top seeds in the last-16 draw. The Champions League world is our proverbial oyster.

December 8: Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 Evian TG

Evian caused a few teams problems this season, but their attacking threat has been watered down (sorry) this season, and PSG took full advantage.

However, the visitors did a good job of bottling up Les Rouges-et-Bleu's attacking quarter until the 29th minute, when Ibra slid the ball home following good work from Pastore and Jallet. Lavezzi rifled home a second, his first in Ligue 1, three minutes later, but anyone who thought the flood-gates were going open was sadly mistaken.

In fact PSG were far from their best, but two goals in the last ten minutes gave the scoreline some perhaps undeserved gloss. First a nice pass from Pastore allowed Thiago Motta to tap in, then Menez laid the ball up on a plate for substitute Kevin Gameiro to smash home.

December 11: Valenciennes 0-4 Paris Saint-Germain

We've now scored four goals in a game on six separate occasions this season, and this quartet capped what was perhaps our finest performance of the season to date.

Valenciennes are no mugs, and have been enjoying a great start to the season, but once Ibra had diverted Lavezzi's shot into the empty net in the 28th minute the result was never in doubt.

PSG played with a swagger befitting of the quality of our team, and Zlatan bagged a second in the 48th minute, slamming the ball into the net after home keeper Penneteau had parried a powerful effort from Pastore.

Menez then set up Ibrahimovic's hat-trick goal, leaving the Swede to tap the ball into the empty net after a good run down the left. It emerged afterwards that some of the PSG players, Sakho and Matuidi thought to be the chief culprits, have given Zlatan the nickname "Inzaghi" due to the amount of tap-ins he's scored this term. Those crazy footballers and their bantz.

Anyway, Lavezzi rounded things off, breaching the VA offside trap to slide the ball past the exposed Penneteau. With league leaders Lyon only managing a 1-1 draw with Nancy on Wednesday, it means a victory for PSG in tomorrow night's showdown with OL at the Parc-des-Princes will see us go top of the division on goal difference.


Looking back it's been a pretty weird month so far. The problem with PSG is that opinions are always polarised; when we lose it's a catastrophe, when we win we're hailed (in some quarters) as world beaters.

Football managers I've spoken to in the past always talk about the importance of keeping things on an even keel - not getting too high on victories or too down after defeats, and everyone involved at the Parc-des-Princes, and in the media, could do with bearing that in mind. Unfortunately PSG exists in a universe where there is only drama and/or crisis; it was like that before the QSI money arrived and certainly hasn't improved since.

Still, at least things are never dull, and we seem to have been building some momentum since the Porto game, so I'm feeling reasonably confident going into Sunday night's big match. Let's hope the Nice game proves to be a nadir for the season. Allez Paris.


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