May 16, 2021

Manchester City-PSG: how the PSG attack drowned without Mbappé

Do you miss a single being and everything is depopulated? Without Kylian Mbappé, insufficiently recovered from his contracture in the calf, Paris Saint-Germain failed to make the powder speak against Manchester City on Tuesday, May 4. Already beaten in the first leg 2-1, the capital club lost on the return without even scoring a goal at the Etihad Stadium (0-2), when it needed at least two to hope a final.

The French international had validated the two previous qualifications by going from his hat-trick in Barcelona (4-1) and his double in Munich (3-2). He will have remained bundled up in his down jacket on the bench for 90 minutes. Inevitably, the question of whether things would have been different had he been playing will arise for a long time. On the way there, in any case, he hadn’t weighed. On the return, none of his teammates will have succeeded in pulling out of the game.

The biggest Parisian opportunity was the work of its defender and captain Marquinhos, who hit the crossbar with a nice header in the 17th minute. And if the players of the club of the capital estimated to be eliminated on “details“, none of their 14 attempts found the target in this second leg. Not enough to slip a wrong note into City’s controlled score.

Neymar, mister Hyde

There is the Neymar of the Lisbon Final 8, the one we thought to have found in the double confrontation with Bayern Munich in the previous round, inspired genius and particle accelerator. And then there is the annoyed Neymar, who takes refuge in selfishness when frustration takes control. When it is this costume that he wears, the Brazilian annoys as much as he is annoyed.

Against Manchester City, it is as if he had played with blinders, forgetting the (rare) calls of his teammates behind the back of the opposing defense and never shooting in the right timing. Each of his four attempts was blocked by an opposing defender. Even when his slalom opens the window to him with a curled shot at the entrance to the surface, he pushes the ball until it completely closes the shooting angle (58th).

Neymar has given credit to his detractors, who will blame him for not having been there in the crucial moments for which he was precisely bought at a high price in 2017 (222 million euros). His last goal in the knockout phase of C1 dates back to the round of 16 second leg against Borussia Dortmund, in March 2020, a series of six consecutive appearances without scoring …

Ghostly Icardi

He was to replace Kylian Mbappé at the forefront of the Parisian attack. But, like Neymar, Mauro Icardi only showed the least attractive side of his game. As the genius finisher had nothing to eat, his ghost took over. The Argentinian just didn’t shoot a single shot on Tuesday night before stepping out in total anonymity in the 63rd minute.

Icardi has only touched 16 balls in total, it is at least 10 less than any other starting player at kick-off, goalkeepers included. None of these were touched in the opponent’s area. Heavy on his supports and little lucid ball at the foot, the former Inter Milan will not have scored a point.

Di Maria loses control

Inspired and almost elusive in the first leg, Angel Di Maria was also unrecognizable against Manchester City. The Argentinian probably delivered his worst performance in an important game since arriving in the capital in August 2015. His legs seemed to shake every time he approached the opponent’s area. His shots seemed to relieve him of the ball.

As paralyzed by the issue, his lack of accuracy penalized his team. None of his three shots found the frame. “El Fideo” only managed two of his eight attempted dribbles. To top it off, Di Maria ended the meeting with an expulsion because of a bad gesture on Fernandinho (70th). While Parisian hopes were already tiny, his red card whistled the end of the match 20 minutes from the end.

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