Sunday, 15 September 2013

Bordeaux 0-2 PSG: Lucas gives Blanc Mour-a to smile about

So according to reports this weekend Gareth Bale turned down a switch to Paris Saint-Germain, while Cristiano Ronaldo was never really interested in the first place. Quelle surprise.

While I'm sure Laurent Blanc would be happy to have either or both of the Real Madrid posers wingers in his squad, he already has a wide-man of his own to be proud of after Lucas Moura played a starring role in PSG's 2-0 win at Bordeaux on Friday.

"Football is sometimes strange," said Blanc after our victory at the Stade Chaban-Delmas, which came courtesy of goals from Moura and big bad Blaise Matuidi. "Our job is to prepare the match all week, elaborate how we'll play, strategies to beat our opponents. This one we didn't prepare at all, absolutely not, we got some players back from international duty only last night. What I'm telling you is that a coach serves no purpose whatsoever."

Epic bantz from Blanc there, I'm sure all the listening journos were in stitches. To be fair the coach had good reason to smile after seeing his team put in what was their best performance of the season. 

It's also ironic he should come out with such a statement - even in jest - after a match in which we truly saw Blanc's PSG for the first time. By that I mean PSG looked like a team that was comfortable, purposeful and cohesive in possession. Carlo Ancelotti did a lot of good work during his time at the Parc des Princes, but his team was never one that could control games, relying instead on counter-attacks or moments of individual brilliance to get the job done.

For Blanc's PSG it's still early days, but the signs in the Bordeaux match were certainly very positive. The 4-3-3 formation undoubtedly helps us look a bit more fluid; often when we play 4-4-2 it feels like there are six defenders who operate on a completely separate pitch to the four attackers, with the two in midfield fighting a losing battle to win the ball and quickly turn it over. It also can't be a coincidence that our most impressive display to date came without the injured Javier Pastore to disrupt the balance of the side.

Bordeaux also helped by being fairly dreadful, and the result never looked in doubt once Matuidi had charged onto Zlatan's exquisite through ball to open the scoring in the 40th minute. Cedric Carrasso in the home goal did well to take some of the pace off of Blaise's initial shot, but the France midfielder reacted quickly to chase in and poke the ball over the line.

The second half was completely one-way traffic, with Moura, who was dashing around like a greyhound on acid, to the fore. The Brazilian scored his first PSG goal when he collected another pinpoint pass, this time from Verratti, to beat Carrasso at his near post. Further goals would have followed were it not for the brilliance of Carrasso, who twice saved well from Zlatan and prevented Lucas Digne from notching a debut goal.

"The team is starting to understand what we can do, and adhere to what we're proposing," added Blanc. "This evening's match, without preparation, is proof of that. 

"Bordeaux struggled in attack, but we have been very good in keeping possession. We've been working on that since 1 July, we really emphasise it and it's in this match that you could see it best."

Long may it continue. Certainly a possession-based game will serve PSG well if they are to make progress in this season's Champions League. Our European campaign begins on Tuesday in Greece, where we will face Olympiakos,

Man of the Match: Lucas Moura - Could Friday's match be the night where he came of age in a PSG shirt? Here's hoping.


Darren Ashton said...

Bordeaux didn't look too bad until Matuidi poked home. It seemed to deflate them and they were resided to defeat. The subs they brought on late in the game were shocking.The defence couldn't hold onto the ball. Moura showed what he was capable of. He was a bit lucky with his goal what with the defence playing him onside and the 'keeper inexplicably moving out of his way for his goal. Until Friday's game I had been a bit non-plussed with Lucas. He just seemed like another tricky dribbler with no end product. PSG under Blanc appear to have a bit of difficulty getting into the opposition box. Five games in and we haven't won a penalty!!

Matthew Gooding said...

I'm with you; not really fully on-board the Lucas bandwagon just yet, but Friday was a positive step.

Certainly needs to do more on a consistent basis if he's to justify his massive price-tag and keep Lavezzi (and Menez) out of the side.

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