They are very much the perennial powerhouse of French football. Backed by vast swathes of cash and host to some of the continent’s best footballers, Paris Saint Germain are truly a force to be reckoned with throughout Europe. However, with manager Laurent Blanc leaving, to be replaced by former Sevilla manager Unai Emery, changes will undoubtedly take place at the Parc des Princes.
The sales of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Manchester United and Lucas Digne to Barcelona can be forgotten about in light of Emery’s new acquisitions, with the likes of Krychowiak, the rejuvenated Hatem Ben Arfa, and Belgium’s star right-back Thomas Meunier, as well as the purchase of promising attacking midfielder Giovanni Lo Celso. Naturally, this will lead to a change in approach at the Parisian club.
Emery is lucky to have a squad with so many different options and solutions. In-depth strength is one of PSG’s greatest assets – the choice of so many different, excellent footballers to supplement the team.
In defence, for example, the prospect of an imminent David Luiz departure is unlikely to cause excessive fear, with the knowledge that Thiago Silva and Marquinhos are a formidable pair in the centre. Furthermore, rumours of Matuidi leaving are not going to be met with terror from the PSG camp, with new boy Krychowiak as well as Thiago Motta and Marco Verratti, a capable and powerful midfielder.
Emery favours midfield domination, so the aforementioned operators should have a major part to play ahead of the oncoming campaign. A high-energy, pressing-play approach is likely, explaining why hard-working individuals like Ben Arfa and Krychowiak will be so vital. Favouring the 4-2-3-1 formation, Emery expects his side to be fluid and quick, especially in the middle, which could lead to Javier Pastore dropping deep to enhance his creative role.
With Lucas Moura and Angel di Maria on the wings, the usual brand of trickery and pace on the flanks will be upheld. Presumably flanking Edinson Cavani as a central striker, the duo will provide the perfect solution to getting the most out of their Uruguayan forward.
Despite the departure of one of their most foremost stars in Ibrahimovic, and the seemingly imminent sale of Matuidi, and perhaps that of David Luiz, Lucas Moura and Edinson Cavani, PSG look, as always, capable of running riot in Ligue 1 and the Champions League this year.
Emery likes his players to be aerially-proficient, which goes to highlight Cavani’s importance in this team. While the presence of Ben Arfa, Lucas and Di Maria will assure goals, Cavani’s involvement is key. A recognised goalscorer, the talismanic striker mustered 19 Ligue 1 goals last season, despite playing, arguably, second fiddle to the preferred Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Should they keep their Uruguayan attacker, there’s little doubt that PSG’s three-pronged attack will be every bit as threatening as last season.
They ought to replicate last season’s success. Winning the Coupe de France, the Coupe de la Ligue and Ligue 1, as well as reaching the quarter-final stage of the Champions League is no mean feat, but the fact remains that they are a supreme footballing force in France; better than any other side in the same division. The club’s owners will be expecting another trophy haul to reward their investments, and Emery will surely be seeking – with some confidence – to do this.
About the author- Tomos Knox
Tomos is a football writer whose work mainly focuses on the Premier League, International and European football in general. He is an avid football fan and first turned to football blogging in 2014, and has since been published by the likes of The Guardian and FourFourTwo. He was shortlisted for ‘Young Blogger of the year’ in 2014 at the football blogging awards. You can follow Tomos here: tomosknox.wordpress.com