For the first time since December of 2014, Paris Saint-Germain lost successive matches as they fell 3-1 to FC Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League. Tuesday night’s defeat was difficult for supporters to watch but as PSG Talk contributor Marc Damon discusses on the latest episode of PSG Small Talk, what did we really expect?
With their raucous support behind them, the reigning German champions capitalized on PSG’s mistakes and jumped out to an early lead but Unai Emery’s squad was able to do just enough to avoid catastrophe and officially top their group ahead of Bayern despite the loss. Kylian Mbappé, in particular, was outstanding on the night and was able to get on the scoresheet in the 50th minute off an Edinson Cavani assist.
Mbappé pulls one back for PSG!
How about that Cavani assist though?? 😍😍 https://t.co/v735OQdTl0
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 5, 2017
PSG was not nearly as poor as the scoreline would suggest. First, you have to keep in mind that Les Parisiens were playing on the road in arguably the toughest setting in European football. Combine that with the fact that PSG was playing in their fourth match in 10 days and it’s easy to understand why they might have underperformed. Despite all of that, PSG managed slightly more possession, more total shots, and shots on target. If not for Dani Alves, Adrien Rabiot and others making silly mistakes, PSG could have easily grided out a draw and silenced their critics. Instead, this result opens the door for the narrative of them being soft and ill-prepared for the Champions League.
While many will take this result and prognosticate about what it means for the knockout stage, it’s important to look at the big picture. PSG are still 9 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 and they did win their Champions League group over Bayern. The capital club is right where they would have wanted to be at the start of the season. The issue with PSG continues to be their inability to adapt to tactical changes and stay calm under pressure. They don’t lose often but when they do it always seems to be in the same manner. Would a new manager solve this issue? If Emery loses in the round of 16 it’s likely we’ll find out.
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