Three Takeaways from PSG’s 9-0 Friendly Win Against Le Havre

Paris Saint-Germain returned to action on Sunday with a 9-0 away win against Le Havre. Following the four-month layoff since its last fixture, PSG played a sound and quality game against the Ligue 2 side. They scored early on with a simplistic Mauro Icardi tap-in goal. It did not end there.

Thomas Tuchel’s side added four more goals in the first half, including a double from Neymar. They played with such fluidity and precision as if it was a mid-season league fixture.

The scoring onslaught continued well into the second half, where the reigning Ligue 1 champions added four more goals thanks to a brilliant display of final third passing and off-ball movement high up the pitch.

While it is just a friendly against a Ligue 2 side, there is much to take away from PSG’s dominant performance.

No signs of rust following the long hiatus

Much of the talk surrounding PSG’s Champions League quarter-final fixture against Atalanta next month has been about the long layoff since its last official game. Will Tuchel and his team be prepared and ready to go after the long hiatus of football?

Well, in its win against Le Havre, the team showcased that any concerns or doubts over rust should be thrown out the window.

Sure, PSG played against a team from Ligue 2 and one with a multitude of defensive issues. But it should not take away from such a brilliant showing from Les Parisiens.

The passing from out wide on the flanks to within the center was crisp and sound. More importantly, they orchestrated multiple successful pressing shifts. The multitude of PSG players that swarmed the ball carrier to win back possession constantly overwhelmed Le Havre.

Tuchel must be pleased with how his side played in the attack and defense.

Le Havre (like many other teams) had no answer for Neymar and Kylian Mbappe

To no one’s surprise, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe took hold of the game like they were back at the Parc des Princes, fooling any defender that wished to challenge them.

Right from the opening minute of the fixture, Neymar and Mbappe were in high gear. The on-ball movements from the two exemplified just how well they managed to stay fit and prepared for in-game action even after the four-month hiatus.

Neymar scored two goals in the first half, including a solo goal that left multiple Le Havre defenders clueless on just how to halt his world-class dribbling prowess.

Mbappe was just as active. His cutting runs and movements when on the wings made him even more difficult for Le Havre to contain. He added a first-half goal following an effortless sequence where he won back possession with ease and launched a two-touch signature shot past the goalkeeper for the score.

Arnaud Kalimuendo Muinga impresses with second-half showing

It is difficult to pinpoint one particular player who had a standout second-half performance because every player chipped in for the outstanding four-goal outburst. But for one, Arnaud Kailmuendo Muinga had himself a performance that he will not forget anytime soon.

He played in 35 minutes over the second half and provided a goal and an assist. The goal was all thanks to his patient off-ball run into the box that split between two Le Havre defenders. He then took advantage of the open space in his vicinity by slotting in a tap-in goal for the 8-0 lead.

Minutes later, the 18-year-old followed it up with a superb ball to the waiting Pablo Sarabia in the penalty box. The Spanish midfielder took care of the rest with a tap-in finish amid the pressure from a Le Havre defender.

Kalimuendo’s movement and ball control was on full display in the fixture. There is still much to work on with his overall attacking play, but the promise is there. Look for him to feature in some of the team’s other fixtures later this month as well.

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Tags Arnaud Kalimuendo Muinga Kylian Mbappé Le Havre Mauro Icardi Neymar Thomas Tuchel