Paris Saint-Germain missed a golden opportunity to provisionally move to the top of Ligue 1 on Saturday as they suffered a devastating 3-0 loss on the road at Montpellier HSC and remain in third place.
Heading into the match, Les Pailladins manager Frédéric Hantz who was on the hot seat as his struggling squad only managed to win three league games all season. After Saturday’s debacle, Unai Emery was the one who’s seat may began to heat up after his lineup selection did nothing but dissapoint on the pitch. The game marked the 300th since Qatar Sports Investments took over at Paris Saint-Germain and it was memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Le #PSG perd 3-0 à Montpellier. Plus large défaite depuis le 27.11.2011 (0-3 à Marseille).
— 𝐍𝐢𝐜𝐨𝐥𝐚𝐬 𝐕𝐢𝐥𝐚𝐬 (@nicolas_vilas) December 3, 2016
The result might be a bitter pill to swallow but it’s an important one as we begin to tell the story of PSG’s season. Here is my “Good & Bad” from their deflating loss to Montpellier:
The Poland international has not been the monstrous defensive midfielder everyone expected when he arrived from Sevilla FC, but his performances have been improving as his playing time increases. Whoscored.com rated the midfielder a 7.5, the highest of any PSG player against Montpellier, and on the pitch, he was the only one that looked fresh and up for the challenge. The 26-year-old will like to build upon this performance if he expects to dethrone Thiago Motta sooner rather than later.
From the attack to midfield to the defense, Paris had problems all over the pitch and that includes Areola between the goal posts. The PSG academy graduate enjoyed a brilliant start to life in the French capital but his form has fizzled into mostly unimpressive displays lately and tonight was definitely one of his shakiest.
Areola’s horror show started in the 41st minute of play. He unreasonably rushed off goal to try and collect a long pass Montpellier captain Hilton had sent flying into PSG’s half and Paul Lasne took advantage. His brilliant chip caught the former Villarreal CF man off his line and scored the opening goal of the game. It’s hard to blame Areola for Montpellier’s second but he absolutely should have done better against their third. The PSG keeper was found completely out of position while trying to close Souleymane Camara’s angle while a counterattack, led by Ryad Boudebouz, seemed to be unfolding to his right. In the end, Boudebouz took advantage of Areola’s mistake and instead of passing the ball to the striker, unleashed a shot from distance into a practically empty net.
These antics earned Areola a 4.9 rating according to whoscored.com, the worst of any player on the pitch. Unless the France international wants an extended vacation on the bench, he must cut down on the mistakes. Unfortunately for the 23-year-old, the damage may have been done and Kevin Trapp could return to the starting lineup.
The Brazilian’s display wasn’t as shaky as some of his other teammates but the lack of concentration is what stood out for me. Most notably, in the 47th minute when Morgan Sanson charged up the firled and bamboozled PSG’s No. 5 with some fancy footwork. Marquinhos was powerless to stop him and allowed the midfielder to set up Ellyes Skhiri for the second goal.
Even though his performance was the highest rated among other PSG defenders, a 6.5 isn’t all that flattering compared to his usual standards and his lack of concentration punished the backline on a number of occassions. He’ll have to be more consistent now that he is a regular starter if PSG hope to go deep in the UEFA Champions League.
Many supporters have been somewhat content with the Spaniards tenure at the Parc so far despite results that are below the standards set by his predecessor. Emery had to deal with the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, new players, and a new system but has proved that he can be dynamic and reactive.
Today though, Emery showed that his intensity can backfire and that a stubborn mentality can be anyone’s downfall. Starting Blaise Matuidi and Edinson Cavani, who’s first touch let him down more often than not, seemed questionable when facing such a notoriously tight and strong-in-the-air team. The rest of his starting XI looked lifeless and tired, perhaps due to their busy fixture list lately.
We’re now going to think about the game on Tuesday, learn the lessons of this evening, have more motivation, more concentration, not make mistakes and not allow our opponents to get into the game as we did this evening.”—Unai Emery, via PSG.fr
Emery’s lack of rotation this season has deflated some of his most integral players causing them to exhaust extra energy and appear overused. The Basque tactician will need to improve his decision-making before the match against PFC Ludogorets Razgrad on Tuesday with the top spot in Group A of the Champions League on the line.
Photograph by PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images