Not all heroes wear capes. Sometimes they wear number 17 and play for Paris Saint-Germain.
The reigning French champions welcomed Toulouse FC to the Parc des Princes on Sunday with revenge on their minds after falling to Stade Rennais the previous week. Thomas Tuchel made some adjustments to his starting lineup, mainly including Pablo Sarabia and Angel Di Maria at the same time, and gave Idrissa Gueye his first start since he arrived from Everton FC this summer. Twenty-year-old Colin Dagba got the nod over Thomas Meunier and performed well enough for some to say the Frenchman should be the permanent right-back for Thomas Tuchel.
Thanks to beIN Sports technical errors, I was late to tune into the match but I tuned in just in time to see Edinson Cavani go down with a muscle injury after kicking the ball in frustration. He was subbed off in the 14th minute in favor of Choupo-Moting, a move some questioned but my faith in the Cameroonian never wavered.
I SAID WHAT I SAID. https://t.co/VSXm97X5Jc
— PSG Talk (@PSGTalk) August 25, 2019
The first half was largely dominated by PSG as many would expect. The capital club had plenty of possession and created a few chances but not the clear-cut opportunity that was necessary. Neymar Jr. would certainly help in that department but as our friend and PSG correspondent for ESPN FC reported, the Brazilian will likely not play until his transfer situation is sorted. Gueye was as advertised. He was all over the pitch breaking up passes and cleaning up trash in Alphonse Areola’s box. It’s only one game so I’m trying not to get too excited, but the Senegal international is exactly the type of player PSG desperately needed in their midfield.
The final heatmap for Idrissa Gueye, safe to say he’s as advertised pic.twitter.com/NkUElOphho
— Eduardo Razo (@_eddierazo) August 25, 2019
The second half kicked off and for the first few minutes, it was more of the same. That is until Choupo-Moting decided to take the game by the scruff of the neck and scored a Neymar-esque goal. It was so spectacular that the striker didn’t celebrate at first. It was like he was in disbelief like the rest of PSG Twitter. For a player who was ridiculed last season for one of the most epic misses in football history, it was great to see him celebrate a brilliant goal and spark PSG to what would eventually be a 4-0 win over Toulouse.
Choupo-Moting went on to play a part in Mathieu Goncalves’ own goal in the 55th minute and scored a second goal in the 75th minute before Marquinhos fired home a bullet header to cap off the route. PSG are known for blowing the doors off lesser Ligue 1 competition in the second half of games and they didn’t disappoint on this night. They needed a big win where they played well on both sides of the pitch and while there were still some mistakes, this was the bounce-back game Tuchel needed from his squad.
The second half was a lot of fun but there was a moment in the 66th minute that scared PSG supporters to death around the world. Kylian Mbappé raced down the sideline towards Baptiste Reynet’s goal but failed to get a shot or pass off once he reached the box. The ball rolled out of bounds and the Frenchman clutched his left hamstring before falling to the ground.
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) August 25, 2019
Tuchel took no chances and Mbappé was immediately taken back to the locker room. From the shots that were shown on the broadcast, the 20-year-old was walking slowly while rubbing his hamstring. We’ll learn more in the coming days but this was the second muscle injury and serious questions need to be asked of the conditioning and medical team at the club. This is a problem that continues to be an issue.
What do the injuries mean as the transfer window is set to close on September 1? Well, it means that unless an unbelievable offer comes in, Neymar will remain at PSG. Both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid could use the Brazilian and their fans would like to see him wearing their shirt, but if Cavani and Mbappé are out for any length of time, Neymar will need to carry the attacking load until they return. It also means that the sporting director may need to pull the trigger on a player like Paulo Dybala. Neymar is suspended for the first three games of the UEFA Champions League and both Cavani and Mbappé could miss some group stage games as well. While Choupo-Moting can score a brace against Toulouse, I don’t like the idea of him starting in the Champions League.
The money should be there to make one or two moves before the end of the transfer window. Both Keylor Navas and Dybala are available and interested in coming to PSG. There could be a surprise or two as well. This upcoming week should go a long way in determining the future of the club this season. The Champions League draw is this Friday and we’ll learn who PSG will be up against in the group stage. The following Sunday, the transfer window closes and we’ll have a better idea of the squad Tuchel will have to hopefully put together a special season.
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