Injuries to Zaïre-Emery and Marquinhos Force Luis Enrique to Adjust

Paris Saint-Germain vs. AS Monaco is coming up on Friday in Ligue 1 but the French champions’ head coach, Luis Enrique, will be counting the cost of the November international break after the news that standout performer Warren Zaïre-Emery will be out until the winter pause. As if the wunderkind getting injured scoring a debut goal just 15 minutes into his maiden senior France appearance was not bad enough, captain Marquinhos effectively declared himself injured for the visit of Les Monegasques after Brazil’s chaotic World Cup qualifying loss at home to Argentina.

PSG will suddenly have to do without two regular starters, which does not make Luis Enrique’s task any easier, given Monaco will arrive at Parc des Princes in third spot and just three points behind Les Parisiens with an immediate turnaround required by both sides for the game. The last time the capital outfit was in this situation was against OGC Nice a few months ago, and it resulted in a 3-2 loss to the team still hanging in there near the Championnat summit in second place and unbeaten through 12 rounds of games—Marquinhos and Manuel Ugarte were absentees then.

Luis Enrique’s options are not helped by the probable absences of Presnel Kimpembe and Nuno Mendes, which makes Lucas Hernández unlikely to move across from left back to partner Milan Škriniar, although Layvin Kurzawa could yet change that scenario in theory. Another possibility is a switch in formation and playing style; although Monaco would not be an ideal opponent to experiment against, it will be a chance for some fringe players to step up regardless of what the Spaniard decides in defense, midfield, and terms of the captaincy.

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Nordi Mukiele


Gradually putting some minutes down as he works his way back to fitness, the 26-year-old is a versatile figure who can switch a right flank position for a more central one in times of need. This certainly qualifies in terms of the defensive situation, so do not be surprised if Luis Enrique’s immediate answer to Marquinhos missing outcomes in the form of the Frenchman. There is also Danilo Pereira, who can slot in centrally across either defense or midfield, but the Portuguese could be needed further forward, although he is far from a like-for-like replacement for Zaïre-Emery.

Danilo Pereira

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The Portugal international’s main asset in this situation is actually his leadership rather than his versatility or his skillset. It could be Luis Enrique deciding that Danilo’s experience and respected opinion are required on the field to organize the backline and structure the midfield. For that reason, it would not be a huge surprise to see the 32-year-old favored over Mukiele in central defense, and it would not be the most complementary match between Danilo and Ugarte if both were paired in the middle.

Carlos Soler

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One of the biggest winners could be the Spaniard, who saw his minutes marginalized during Zaïre-Emery’s rise despite impressing the last time the teenage sensation missed a game, which was the home win over RC Strasbourg Alsace after the October international break. Soler can play in central midfield but also further up towards the attack, which would give Luis Enrique scope to tinker with his team’s shape if he chooses to. Not exactly a readymade replacement for Zaïre-Emery, his inclusion might also depend upon Ugarte’s fitness, given that he has missed games because of the impact of traveling back from South America already since joining the club. I certainly expect to see more of Soler between now and the final pre-winter break game vs. FC Metz.

Fabian Ruiz

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Another one of the current Spanish quartet in this Parisien side who could see more minutes with Zaïre-Emery sidelined is Fabian Ruiz, who also impressed vs. Strasbourg. The former SSC Napoli man is slightly more functional than Soler, so he gets a few more looks as the midfield turns over. Ruiz has featured more than Soler so far although both started the win away at Stade de Reims, and he could get a start here if Luis Enrique looks to rotate, given Newcastle United in the UEFA Champions League next Tuesday is also a key game with Ugarte’s fitness particularly under scrutiny.

Read the full article at PSG Talk Extra Time on Substack.

Tags Carlos Soler Danilo Pereira Fabián Ruiz Luis Enrique Marquinhos Nordi Mukiele Warren Zaire-Emery
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