There were plenty of positives to take from Sunday’s 4-1 victory over Ajaccio and none more so than Carlo Ancelotti’s implementation of a dynamic attacking trio in Nene, Jeremy Menez and Javier Pastore playing just behind the lone man up top Guillaume Hoarau.
Up until now the Italian has predominately utilised his favourable 4-3-2-1 (Christmas tree) building from the back and ensuring a solid core in the middle of the park. He has also tried and tested a 4-4-2 which has showed promise, in particular to give Kevin Gameiro some much needed assistance in the attacking third to make him less isolated. Now Ancelotti has adopted something that seemed to galvanise the team’s attacking threat by simply taking out one of his midfield anchorman – Mohamed Sissoko the man to make way at the weekend – to allow Pastore to ease back in further afield.
The Argentinean had been out of action with a muscle tear in his thigh for a month and with the team playing relatively well and getting the victories in his absence, it was difficult to see where he would slot back in. On the few occasions he has played since his return, he has been much deeper than usual with Nene and Menez continuing their duties as a duo just behind the striker. New signing Thiago Motta has been ever present in midfield since his move from Internazionale and has been accompanied in the midfield by the likes of Sissoko, Blaise Matuidi and Mathieu Bodmer. This has been a pretty successful ploy so far but it can be argued that the team look a little static and one dimensional in that part of the field. The decision to eliminate one of the three and usher in Pastore paid dividends in the win over Ajaccio.
Pastore was surprisingly moved out to the left-hand side of the pitch in place of Nene who has rubberstamped it as his own. The Brazilian was moved to the opposite flank with Menez filling in the middle. During the game the Frenchman and El Flaco were interchanging frequently from both positions with Nene more or less staying out right all game bar the odd glimpse from his favourable side in which he set up Hoarau’s goal and PSG’s third of the evening. There was a real fluency from all three, producing some scintillating football that has been some of the team’s best all season. Ajaccio really struggled to keep pace and were bamboozled by the movement of all three players.
The decision by the Coach was simple yet so effective. A player with the quality of Pastore was always going to be missed but he is finally starting to rediscover some early season form. With him coming back into the side and complementing his two amigos can be the difference maker in ensuring the league title makes its way to the Parc de Princes.