Sakar Prasain, who writes for the biggest sports website in Nepal, GoalNepal.com, has given his take on Edinson Cavani’s recent form for PSG.
After dismal performances against Real Madrid and Toulouse, star forward Edinson Cavani has left fans wondering about whether or not he has any more to offer Les Parisiens. He appears to be a shadow of the striker that was bought for reportedly over €60 million and his confidence does not seem to be at a desirable level. At a team as big as PSG, there is not much room for players in this sort of state to be starting.
El Matador’s goal-scoring record for PSG since joining the club in the summer of 2013 is still impressive; he has netted 65 goals in 114 appearances, per ESPN. However, the overwhelming majority of these goals have come against weaker teams in France. When it comes to the Champions League against the likes of Chelsea, Barcelona, and Real Madrid, the former Napoli striker very often seems to go missing.
A big part of the problem concerns how one dimensional he is. At Paris, the 28-year old has been a very limited player technically. He does poorly when it comes to creating for his teammates; in his time at the club, he has garnered only five assists. And while he is capable of running tirelessly up and down the pitch for ninety minutes, he does not have the raw speed it takes to play as a winger at such a high level. This was demonstrated when he went up against Danilo at the Santiago Bernabeu; the Brazilian right back beat him to the ball down the left hand side constantly. These issues may not be of big importance when playing against Ligue 1 teams that don’t have world class players, but against the best teams in the world, these flaws can become noticeably frustrating.
The most positive thing the Uruguayan does is that he gets in the proper positions for his teammates to feed him in dangerous areas. His movement off the ball is world class and this explains the chances he gets on a regular basis. This ability certainly explains why coach Laurent Blanc’s idea of deploying him loosely on the left wing makes sense on paper because it allows him to make the runs in between defenders and make it harder for them to mark him, opening up more space for the team going forward.
On the contrary, this does not always translate into real game scenarios because his teammates aren’t always looking to play him through behind defenders. PSG’s style of play is all about keeping possession and building up play around the box of the opponent. This creates a difference with Cavani’s abilities as he is rarely involved in the team play. Add in the fact that he constantly has to find the balance between his defensive duties as a winger and his priorities going forward, and it’s easy to understand why he often becomes an unknown presence for the team and has little impact for the majority of the game.
Thus, many will argue that Blanc’s decision to place Cavani on the wing and having second fiddle to Zlatan Ibrahimović has limited his abilities. However, as the French record signing, a striker of his caliber is expected to be able to adapt and at least finish off the numerous one-on-one opportunities he receives.
Specifically, when he finally does get in the goal-scoring situations he spends the whole match trying to get into, he ends up wasting those chances far too often. Put simply, his inconsistent and sometimes baffling finishing prevents him from scoring on a consistent basis. This explains why even when he has played in his preferred central striker role, he hasn’t always impressed there either.
Therefore, a crucial time has come for PSG to decide whether or not the club wants to stick with Cavani as a regular starter or move on and give opportunities to the likes of Lucas Moura and Ezequiel Lavezzi, both of whom are in impressive form. He does have some merit to his name; he has scored at least 25 goals for the club over the past two seasons and no one can take away the fact that he has proved himself as a striker of the highest level in the past.
At the same time, he was ultimately signed to help give PSG the clinical edge it needed in the important Champions League games, and as of now, he’s not showing he has what it takes to be the player who can do that. In this case, if Cavani wants to salvage his career at the French capital, he is going to have to drastically improve his performances soon.
Thank you again to Sakar for his contribution.