Saturday, October 16 2021

The reaction in France to the all-star Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League bow against Club Brugge in midweek has been unforgiving.

PSG, football’s new galacticos following the arrival of Lionel Messi, were dismissed as “ghost-like” by sports daily L’Equipe as they escaped with a 1-1 draw against the Belgian champions on what was the Argentine’s first start for his new club.

Messi teamed up with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar for the first time but, as Le Parisien put it, “the dream of seeing the ‘MNM’ together almost turned into a nightmare”.

A draw away to, on paper, the weakest team in their Champions League group puts Mauricio Pochettino’s side -– among the leading pre-tournament favourites to win European club football’s biggest prize -– up against it just to reach the last 16.

They play Manchester City next and still have to face RB Leipzig, two teams that beat PSG in last season’s Champions League.

The game in Bruges served as a reminder that the Qatar-owned club cannot simply rely on Messi, Neymar and Mbappe to win games, even if the latter set up their goal for Ander Herrera.

They desperately missed the suspended Idrissa Gana Gueye and the injured Marco Verratti in midfield.

Angel di Maria was suspended. At the back, Sergio Ramos has still not played because of injury.

“We must improve, we know that,” said Pochettino.

“We have a magnificent squad, but we need balance, to be creative going forward but solid at the back. We need time for that.”

It is concerning when compared with Pep Guardiola’s City, who thumped Leipzig 6-3 in midweek and come to Paris later this month.

By then Messi will at least have had three more matches to get used to his new team-mates, starting with Sunday’s home meeting with Lyon, PSG’s biggest test yet domestically.

PSG have a 100 percent record so far in Ligue 1 and have scored 16 goals in their five outings but they face a Lyon side that is in form and beat Rangers 2-0 in Glasgow in the Europa League on Thursday.

Player to watch: Jerome Boateng

The 33-year-old German World Cup-winning centre-back was a surprise signing by Lyon as the transfer window shut at the end of last month, penning a two-year contract after arriving from Bayern Munich on a free transfer.

Boateng, who was a regular for Bayern last season, made his Lyon debut off the bench in their 3-1 win over Strasbourg last weekend and started against Rangers in Glasgow.

The former Manchester City player has had other issues to worry about it since arriving at his new club — last week he was given a 1.8 million-euro ($2m) fine by a German court for assaulting an ex-girlfriend three years ago.

Seeking to focus on football in the face of his legal woes, Boateng will come up against PSG’s superstar attack this weekend when Lyon go to the Parc des Princes.

Key stats

5 – PSG have won their first five Ligue 1 games of a season for the third time in their history, and the third time in five years. They went on to be champions in 2017/18 and 2018/19 after starting in identical fashion.

24 – The number of minutes Messi has played in Ligue 1 so far.

0 – Nice are the only team yet to concede a goal in any of Europe’s big five leagues so far this campaign.

Fixtures (kick-offs GMT)

Friday

Strasbourg v Metz (1900)

Saturday

Lens v Lille (1500), Saint-Etienne v Bordeaux (1900)

Sunday

Nice v Monaco (1100), Angers v Nantes, Clermont v Brest, Reims v Lorient, Troyes v Montpellier (all 1300), Marseille v Rennes (1500), Paris Saint-Germain v Lyon (1845)

as/dj

Source: Yahoo Sports

Previous

Milan follow Liverpool lesson with trip to old rivals Juve

Next

Astros roll past Rangers 12-1 with boost from seven-run fourth inning

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Pro Sports Media

Trending Now

Warriors’ Jonathan Kuminga to miss preseason finale with injury

Jonathan Kuminga will not play in the Golden State Warriors‘ preseason finale on Friday versus the Portland Trail Blazers due to a right patellar tendon strain. Kuminga suffered the injury on Oct. 6 in the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets. The exact play when it occurred is not known but he left the game […]

Read More

Giants hurt by odd MLB rule in controversial NLDS loss vs. Dodgers

Odd MLB rule played role in Giants’ controversial NLDS loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea Perhaps it was fitting how the Giants’ season ended, done in by a controversial check-swing call in Game 5 of the National League Division Series after their power-packed offense went missing against the Los Angeles Dodgers. After all, the […]

Read More

Saudi-owned Newcastle begin bold bid for ‘superpower’ status

A new era beckons for Newcastle on Sunday when a packed St James’ Park will witness the Magpies’ first match since a takeover led by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund took control of the club. Amanda Staveley, one of Newcastle’s new directors, says the consortium’s ambition is to turn the struggling club into Premier League […]

Read More