I made no attempt to hide my displeasure of Thomas Tuchel’s lineup decision ahead of Paris Saint-Germain’s Coupe de France match against Olympique Lyonnais.
From Edinson Cavani starting over Mauro Icardi to Thomas Meunier starting at right-back instead of Thilo Kehrer, the decisions were questionable at best considering the monumental matchup against Borussia Dortmund next Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League.
I also questioned whether starting Leandro Paredes starting in the midfield was the right decision. The Argentina international is a fine player and has had brief moments this season where he looks like a player worthy of the €40 million PSG paid for him in January 2019.
L’Equipe rated Paredes a 5 out of 10 for his performance against Lyon and you have to wonder that if he struggled against French competition, how will he perform against Dortmund’s high-flying attack with the Champions League season on the line?
For me, Tanguy Kouassi should have started in the midfield alongside Idrissa Gueye. The 17-year-old has all of the tools to be a special player and he would have been effective against Lyon as a defensive midfielder. If Tuchel plans to use him against Dortmund, it would have made sense to start the Frenchman in a high-intensity match like the one against Lyon.
Ultimately, Tuchel decided to go with Paredes and Gueye in the midfield and Thilo Kehrer and Marquinhos as his center-back pairing. After the 5-1 win, the manager explained his thinking.
“It was a decision for this match because we lacked Thiago Silva and [Presnel] Kimpembe. We chose the experience of Marquinhos and we wanted to give playing time to Leandro Paredes because he needs to play to face Dortmund. He deserved to play. He had to play because Marco [Verratti] is suspended against Dortmund. He had to have rhythm. Both Marco and Leo are always looking for offensive solutions. They do not lose easy balls.”
Tuchel’s comments seem to indicate that he is leaning towards playing Paredes in the midfield against Dortmund. Keep in mind that Paredes wasn’t even in the squad for the first leg. Tuchel has also said that he prefers Marquinhos in the midfield as opposed to center-back, so is he planning on a Paredes/Marquinhos duo in midfield and leave Gueye on the bench?
If so, that begs the question, who plays at center-back against Dortmund? Kimpembe and Abdou Diallo are both left-footed, which isn’t ideal. Kouassi could play center-back but if that was the plan, shouldn’t he have started against Lyon? Silva could be back in time but the probability of that happening is slim according to Le Parisien. Kehrer will be forced to play right-back because of Meunier’s suspension and Colin Dagba’s injury.
The fact that supporters like me have so many questions at this stage of the season is not good. PSG should have a set system and a set starting 11 that changes very little from game to game. It’s important for starters to be match fit and in rhythm and the fact that we have no idea what formation or lineup Tuchel will go with against Dortmund is concerning at best.
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