Stade Rennais 1-1 Paris Saint-Germain
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Javier Pastore
Well I thought I was feeling sluggish after getting back home from two fantastic weeks away in the USA. However, that was nothing compared to the lethargic performance by Paris Saint-Germain yesterday against Stade Rennais.
Despite coming from Brittany with a point, the 1-1 draw just left a feeling of frustration due to a repetitive occurrence of not performing before European games. It is a trait that has been noticeable for quite a while and although minds may be more fixated towards Ajax next Wednesday, Laurent Blanc needs to do more in ensuring that this stops.
Speaking of the coach, I have been a staunch supporter of his since he took over from Carlo Ancelotti last year. But, in matches away from home he is letting them peter out by not adjusting his tactics. Much like the performance in Evian last month which ended goalless, LB utilised a 4-3-3 for the entire 90 minutes. It is a system that we start games with ease and undeniably been the formation that has brought us success, but when we need a little intervention, something to tip the balance of a game in our favour, he very rarely makes a tactical substitution or tweak to the system. Again, yesterday his substitutions were like for like. Ezequiel Lavezzi came on for Lucas Moura as Blaise Matuidi and Yohan Cabaye came on for Thiago Motta and Javier Pastore. No change to the system, just more like for like changes which evidently do not work the majority of the time. This is not going to change the dynamics of a game really is it?
Edinson Cavani started the game out on the left-hand side of the three man attack and stayed there. Despite his wonderful goal against Saint-Etienne before the international break, there was nowhere near anything similar this time around. Pushing him up top with Zlatan Ibrahimovic as a two could have been an option with Lavezzi, Lucas or even Jean Chistophe Bahebeck out wide to give us width. Did we really need three men in midfield? On the balance of play we could easily have gone to a two but Blanc will not budge.
He has the trip to the Netherlands in mind and that is understandable. But we have seen too many performances like this away from home. He needs to be bolder with his decision making.
We took the lead via Zoumana Camara of all people in the first-half. The veteran somehow found himself loitering in the six-yard box to tap in a Gregory Van der Wiel cross. The odds on the 34-year-old being first goal-scorer would have been interesting.
The equaliser came shortly after half-time in bizarre fashion. A tame pass by Paul-Georges Ntep resulted in being the leveller as Abdoulaye Doucoure’s run across goal bamboozled the PSG defence. Salvatore Sirigu was left in a muddle, seemingly mistiming his dive and the ball trickled into the net. After signing a new contract this week it wasn’t the best way to celebrate.
Nevertheless, it is a point that takes us up to third but we are still yet to win away from home. Javier Pastore was very honest in his assessment post-match which you have to applaud. He said; “Once again, we had all the ball but we weren’t able to score that winning goal. The most important thing is to keep playing well and win our next game. But it’s still a bad result. Paris Saint-Germain should win every match”.