Toulouse FC 1-1 Paris Saint-Germain
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Jean-Christophe Bahebeck
Paris Saint-Germain should have been going for the jugular yesterday after the 2-0 win in Caen last Wednesday but instead they fell flat like a lead balloon in Toulouse. Laurent Blanc’s men participated in a dull affair where they had to come back from a goal down. Jean-Christophe Bahebeck go the all-important equaliser in the first-half. But with Barcelona coming to town on Tuesday along with an in form Lionel Messi who netted his 401st career goal, Laurent Blanc needs to ensure his team are at the races.
The coach made a host of changes as he usually does before a Champions League fixture. But even by his standards he made one too many. Particularly by bringing in veteran Zoumana Camara for the in-form Marquinhos who has contributed greatly along with David Luiz to our impressive defensive displays these past few weeks. He also brought in Lucas Digne and Serge Aurier into the full-back positions in order to keep Maxwell and Gregory Van der Wiel fresh for the Barca game. Thiago Motta was also rested so Marco Verratti came in for the Brazilian born Italian international after his midweek suspension.
The 4-2-3-1 formation worked an absolute treat against Caen but Blanc opted to try something different in the first-half. He went with a diamond, a system we have not seen him invoke to his PSG team. Verratti sat at the base with Yohan Cabaye and Blaise Matuidi in the centre. Javier Pastore played at the top with Edinson Cavani and Bahebeck being the focal points as a two man attack. Credit to Blanc, I have pleaded for him to utilise different formations but unfortunately this was one that just did not work. We hardly created a thing in the first-half with exception to the goal. We were flat, predictable and TFC kept us at bay with ease. At half-time Blanc made a tactical change and reverted us back to a flat midfield three
We gifted the hosts their opener. Aurier – who was back at his parent club – played a terrible back pass that was latched onto by Wissam Ben Yedder who got to the ball before Salvatore Sirigu and finished with aplomb.
Our equaliser was courtesy of some quick thinking from Verratti who played a quick freekick over the top for Bahebeck who did ever so well as he bore in on goal and finished coolly past Zacharie Boucher.
And it is no exaggeration, that was as about as eventful as the game got. It took until the 85th minute for Blaise Matuidi to register the first shot on target from either side in the second-half. It was a poor game but an equally poor performance from us. The humidity in southern France was far from ideal but it is no excuse. The champions looked anything but champions. There may have been a number of marquee players missing but even so, the talent that was out there should have created more than they did. Edinson Cavani was starved of service and cut a frustrated figure throughout.
The disappointing thing is that we failed to capitalise on that good performance against Caen. Minds seemed to be elsewhere and from Blanc’s team selection, so was his. Barcelona are coming to the Parc des Princes as La Liga leaders and off the back of a thumping 6-0 over Granada. Not only is Lionel Messi back to his best, Neymar even netted a hat-trick in that game.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will thankfully be back for that, although it is too soon for Thiago Silva. Blanc will reintegrate the first-teamers he rested yesterday, so we will see a different mentality and performance.
We have to, otherwise Luis Enrique’s men will coast their way through the 90.