If Salavtore Sirigu’s heroics in the last two months are anything to by, then Paris Saint-Germain’s resolute defence is just as vital to any title surge than the bamboozling of opposition defences by our front three.
Sirigu exceeded Bernard Lama’s 16-year club record of 697 minutes without conceding a goal in Ligue 1, rounding it off with a nice 775 minutes. It would take a brave man in this current climate to bet against that tally getting into the 800+ minutes. Even with skipper Thiago Silva sitting out the last two league games, we have still been able to deny the opposition from netting. Sirigu has no doubt played a monumental role in the sturdiness of the defence but the defensive group as a whole have come to the fore.
Last season, defensively, we looked amateur at times. Unable to deal with set-pieces comprehensively, sitting off opposition allowing them to press and an evident lack of understanding centrally. Mamadou Sakho looked lost at times but this season he has been a revelation and this is largely down to the arrival of Thiago Silva.
Considered the best all round centre-back in world football, you can certainly see why. He has slotted into life in Paris with pure ease and not only have his performances shone through but also his influence on others. Ever since Carlo Ancelotti handed him the captaincy it has even galvanised him so much more. The defence is organised, players are undertaking their duties to the highest professional manner and it is paying off. The concession of just 12 league goals this season echoes that testament, meaning Les Parisiens have the best defensive record.
It has won us games at times. On many occasions we have been in tightly contested matches where only the solitary goal has been enough. Sirigu has made a number of crucial saves, as seen on Sunday against Lille, particularly against Dimitri Payet from 12-yards out. Last season, that would have been the sort of game PSG would have thrown away but victories like that, complimented with some luck, win titles.
All the more impressive thing is that the centre-back paring has changed numerous times. Whenever Alex has been missing, Sakho has stood in superbly and vice versa. The pair of them seem to revel alongside Silva but with him out for another week or so, others have had to step in. Experienced stalwarts Zoumana Camara and Sylvain Armand have done just that and even with Armand known predominantly as a full-back, he has not looked out of place. It really is remarkable how much we have improved in that area since last season.
Scoring goals are the most important aspect in football but keeping them out is just as vital. If PSG can keep up with this rate in both departments then a third league title looks all the more probable.