Champions League – PSG – Defensively, no more question of changing for Christophe Galtier?

Yes, PSG are in the Top 8. But for the wrong reasons this time around. Only eight teams (out of 32) have failed to produce a clean sheet in the Champions League this season. Alongside PSG in this less than glorious list? Glasgow Rangers, FC Barcelona, ​​AC Milan, Celtic, Salzburg, Shakhtar and Juventus Turin. No serious contender for the final victory.

This Tuesday, at the Parc, Paris must regain its defensive serenity, soaring at the start of the European season. But in what system? This is the whole question that will occupy the mind of Christophe Galtier. The return of Presnel Kimpembe but also that of Nuno Mendes could allow the French technician to find his typical defense of the start of the season, with a Ramos – Marquinhos – Kimpembe line flanked by the pistons Hakimi and Mendes. But the fitness condition of the two men still questioned. Just like the need to return to this initial pattern.

Champions League

800 police and gendarmes mobilized at the Parc des Princes


The return of the great Marquinhos

In the Parisian staff, we will wait for the World Cup to test the 4-3-1-2 system with a classic central hinge, protected by a sentry and two relays. Christophe Galtier had said it: his first desire was really to install a 3-4-3 in a sustainable way. But PSG ended up being overtaken by injuries and by its insufficient transfer window for this system. In pragmatics, the Parisian coach adapted… and hit right from the start.

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Against OM (1-0), in a match close to the intensity of the Champions League, Paris released a form of serenity that was becoming increasingly rare. Faced with Ajaccio (0-3), the same story even if the adversity was quite different. How to explain this regain? No doubt by the return of a great Marquinhos.

Installed as a central defender in the three-man system, the Brazilian was undoubtedly the one who suffered the most. Called upon to compensate for the depth in the back of Sergio Ramos and Kimpembe, he often appeared in full force, both in coverage and in duels. “He had tough games like the whole team“, recognized Galtier before Ajaccio about his captain. He is not the only one to be relieved by this change. “The defense is closer to me, and I have fewer exits from my box“, recognized Gianluigi Donnarumma after Ajaccio.

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The middle question without Verratti

If Marquinhos has found a level much closer to his usual standards, it is not just a question of individual performance. “He has a lot more benchmarks in a four-man defense, it is also important for him to have Marco Verratti in front of him, with whom he has been playing for several years.“, had also specified Galtier before Ajaccio. Because the return of a system with four defenders has above all added a midfielder to the equation. What form a more consistent team block in the defensive phase, if the attackers do efforts. With Vitinha and Ruiz, Paris presents stalkers able to relieve the defense but also to make more protective races behind the backs of the full-backs. And when Verratti is on sentry, it changes life for everyone, with and without a ball.

Suspended against Maccabi Haifa, the Italian will miss. But the Parisian resources in the field seem sufficient. Or in any case more reassuring than those in defense. Integrated into the eleven holder since the Classic, Fabian Ruiz could find this recording position which he masters on the fingertips in Naples. “On the matches he has just played, it seems to me that he has the right tempo on the management of high and low times“, analyzed Galtier at the end of the match against Ajaccio, already paving the way for his tenure in the midfield three on Tuesday? A solution that could shorten the flights of Vitinha and Renato Sanches a notch higher.”Don’t think we’ve radically abandoned the conceded three-way systemhowever nuanced the Parisian coach Monday in a press conference. It’s a big advantage to have two organizations, two systems. It worked great, then it stuck for different reasons. We have changed in the last two matches for different reasons: absences, how to be more dangerous and recover the ball earlier and allow my trio (attacking Neymar-Messi-Mbappé, editor’s note) to be in front of goal earlier negative. But whatever the organization, you always have to run a lot“.

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So, will the 4-3-1-2 settle in the long term? In any case, it seems obvious by the World Cup, as much for the resources available behind (Kimpembe just back, Danilo Pereira package) as for the satisfactions elsewhere on the ground. “Having three midfielders allows for greater recovery, stronger control in the heart of the game and being higher on our attackssummed up the PSG coach on Friday. That did not prevent us from involving our side, very present“. In other words: the existing strong points have not disappeared (activity of the sides / animation of the attacking trio) while the weak points have been somewhat erased. It would be so stupid to change them…

Champions League

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Champions League

Kimpembe and Nuno Mendes back in the Parisian group


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