‘It’s One of the Worst Draws for PSG’ — Former French Midfielder Provides Insight on Atalanta

There was a sigh of relief from many PSG fans following the Champions League knockout stage draw on Friday. Instead of matching up against some of the high-octane sides left in the tournament, like Bayern Munich or Manchester City, Les Parisiens drew Atalanta for the quarterfinals.

However, the Lombardy-based side will not be an effortless challenge by any means — and one former player agrees. Ousmane Dabo spent two of his 15 years as a player in Europe with Atalanta. In an exclusive interview with Le Parisien, Dabo talked about why this Atalanta team should present a difficult tactical matchup to PSG.

“It’s not a good draw for Paris,” Dabo said. “Atalanta is in incredible shape. It’s a team that runs a lot and puts a lot of intensity into their play. Sometimes there are six players in the opponent’s box, and they play a form of total football. It’s really impressive.

“For me, it’s one of the worst draws for PSG. People need to be aware of that and not rely on the names of little-known players.”

Dabo acknowledges that PSG’s attacking prowess makes them a prolific unit. But he is confident that Atalanta will prepare for such an arduous task.

“Atalanta aren’t afraid to get out from behind, and if Neymar and Mbappe in particular manage to get in shape, they’ll be able to hurt them,” Dabo said. “As they attack a lot, automatically there are holes in the back. But knowing that they’re going to play PSG, I also think they’re going to adapt.”

When asked to speak about any particular player, Dabo lauded Alejandro “Papu” Gomez. The Argentine is one of the most in-form attacking midfielders in all of Europe with a Serie A-leading 16 assists. Dabo believes that he will be a key player in the tie against PSG.

“For me it’s Papu Gomez, the captain and leader of this team,” Dabo said. “He makes the difference with his game. A lot of balls go through his feet and that’s what drives Atalanta’s attacks. He’s one of the most important and emblematic players in the team because he decided to stay at the club when he was in great demand.”

Atalanta has six games remaining in its league schedule, which should provide PSG with valuable time to watch and scout this formidable attacking team.

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