“Let’s help him”. Those were the words from Laurent Blanc yesterday in his pre-match presser ahead of the Nantes game this evening. The Uruguayan has come under fire again after his performance against Lyon last Sunday night where he missed a couple of golden opportunities.
For a player of his quality, you do expect better. The chance in the second-half in particular stands out. He bore in towards goal but tried to diligently lift the ball over Anthony Lopes who saved comfortably in the end. El Matador is renowned for being a clinical finisher and he has shown this during his one and a half seasons at the club – but not enough! His performance against Les Gones pretty much summed it up for him. Zlatan Ibrahimovic ends up getting the plaudits and Cavani is left to be questioned.
It is that whole conundrum of can the two of them play together? Cavani has spent 90% of his time on the left-hand side in a Parisian shirt which irks him greatly. We thought this may change last summer after apparently telling the coach his concerns and wanting to play as a central striker. Well, since his return from the club’s two game suspension he has had a few chances there with Zlatan dropping deeper but against Lyon, the big Swede was back to being the focal point in attack. It worked a treat as we dominated the game and the number 10 had a number of chances himself which Lopes did well to save. In the end, his penalty was decisive but it could have been very different had Clement Turpin not ordered a retake.
The thing is though Cavani is getting chances. There is nothing wrong with his work ethic, nor his movement. It is just that last detail when it matters and it’s a sign of low confidence. He has took some stick from the Parisian support which came to ahead in the 1-0 win over Rennes at the end of last month where he was jeered. He was replaced by Blanc with the two of them having a few words as the striker made his way to the dugout. He was unfortunate in that game as goalkeeper Benoit Costil made a terrific save from him but the moment when Javier Pastore blasted the ball across goal which ricocheted off the striker to go wide, the fans turned. That was mightily unfair but the frustration from the supporters boiled over.
His best spell actually came when Zlatan was out injured. He had a spell where he netted in five consecutive games. Again though, it brings up this whole debate about the two of them playing together. Even their relationship has been questioned which all parties have seemingly laughed off.
The good thing is that despite their falling out at the turn of the year over the whole Marrakech debacle, the coach is showing faith in the player. He gave him real public support in his presser yesterday by insisting that the goals will come and he will be helped!