Paris Saint-Germain could not have imagined a better introduction ahead of the new season.
Unai Emery’s men emerged deserved 2-1 winners of the Trophée des Champions match against AS Monaco. Summer arrival Dani Alves scored a goal and grabbed an assist as he helped PSG overturn a first-half deficit and win a morale-boosting piece of silverware.
Here are the five things we learned tonight:
Paris Saint-Germain send a huge statement ahead of new season
PSG head coach Unai Emery is well aware of the pressure on his shoulders ahead of the new season and former Sevilla boss did everything he could to prove to his employers that Les Parisiens will fight for honours in every single competition next season.
The main focus of the Paris-based giants will be to regain the Ligue 1 title and with a defeat to the last season’s champions, they have indeed sent a huge statement ahead of new season. PSG are currently standing at paltry 2/9 betting odds to win the Ligue 1 this year. PSG took some time to get fully into the match. Sidibe’s brilliant first-half chip put PSG behind, but Les Parisiens refused to give up and got back in the match with a fantastic free kick goal from Dani Alves. The Brazilian assisted Rabiot who latched on a lofted cross inside the box to put the ball in the back of Subasic’s net and his team upfront with what turned out to be a winning goal. AS Monaco saw their late penalty claims dismissed and Emery’s men should be praised for withstanding a strong surge in the closing stages to head into the new season with silverware.
Dani Alves still a world-class player
Brazil international Dani Alves keeps defying age.
The experienced right-back joined Paris Saint-Germain this summer from Juventus and has already made a huge impression. The 34-year-old defender has been an instant influence in Unai Emery’s side. Former Barcelona and Juventus star enjoyed a stellar season with Serie A giants during the 2016/17 campaign and he only continued his fine form. Alves made a great contribution in PSG’s defence, whereas he once again proved to be a great asset upfront. Brazilian scored a sensational free-kick goal, provided an assist for Adrien Rabiot and was an overall attacking threat in the final third, adding firepower to PSG’s front line, providing his teammates with an important option in front of Subasic’s goal. Alves has been directly involved in 4 goals for AS Monaco in 3 competitive matches, scoring two and assisting as many.
Kylian Mbappe looks distracted by transfer rumours
It might still be officially preseason, buy Kylian Mbappe was largely disappointing for AS Monaco in the Trophée des Champions against PSG.
The 18-year-old French forward has enjoyed a blistering season for French champions, scoring 15 goals in 17 Ligue 1 appearances, while also making a huge impact at the international stage for his side as well. Mbappe’s flying form was enough to attract interest from all over Europe as top clubs lined up behind the exciting AS Monaco starlet. And with summer transfer window in full swing, Mbappe has not been spared of hot rumours. Some of the latest reports claim that AS Monaco and Real Madrid have already made a world-record agreement over the 18-year-old and such stories have clearly had an impact on the young star. Kylian Mbappe did manage to put the ball in the back of the net from an offside position early on, but his body language during the most of the match against PSG revealed a distracted and unfocused man. Mbappe lacked recognizable flair and energy, ending up being muted by PSG defenders for the entire 70 minutes he spent on the pitch.
AS Monaco can’t afford to lose any more players
The Principality club relied on a narrow selection of players throughout their Ligue 1 title-winning season.
Leonardo Jardim lost a couple of key players already this summer with the likes of Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy joining Manchester City and Tiemoue Bakayoko moving to Premier League champions Chelsea. AS Monaco struggled without the three integral parts of their title-winning squad and it is becoming evident that Jardim will have to work around the clock to find a solution to a burning issue in defence and in midfield. AS Monaco did bring Terence Kongolo and Yuri Tielemans who are seen as direct replacements for Mendy and Silva, but the new arrivals still need time to adapt to the new surroundings. Kongolo was insecure and vulnerable on the left side of the pitch where Dani Alves was allowed far too much space, whereas Tielemans did suggest he could be more than a decent signing for AS Monaco. Either way, the Principality club cannot afford to sell any one of their first-team stars despite the heavy interest in both Fabinho, Lemar and Mbappe above all.
Now, let’s talk about Neymar
Paris Saint-Germain have laid the red carpet for the Brazilian superstar who could get further tempted to make a move to France by the Saturday’s trophy and a composed, quality display from Les Parisiens.
PSG are thought to have sent the world-record offer to Barcelona which is enough to trigger Neymar’s release clause and the Catalans seem to be making peace with the fact their key man could leave this summer. Neymar’s possible arrival would be an immense boost for Unai Emery’s squad and could immediately make PSG one of the favourites to win the Champions League, which still remains one of the Qatari owners’ biggest dream. Paris Saint-Germain preserved the core of the team and added an experienced top-class player in Dani Alves, thus getting an important option both defensively and in attack. PSG are a well-rounded squad and Neymar’s potential arrival would only push them closer to getting on par with Europe and world’s biggest sides.
AS MONACO: Subasic 6 – Toure 6.5, Glik 7, Jemerson 6.5, Kongolo 5.5 (Mesquita Lopes 6) – Sidibe 7.5 (Saint-Maximin 6), Tielemans 7.5, Fabinho 7, Lemar 7 – Falcao 6.5, Mbappe 6 (Carillo 6).
Unused subs: Benaglio, Jorge, Moutinho, Raggi.
PSG: Areola 6.5 – Meunier 6.5, Marquinhos 7, Silva 7.5, Kurzawa 7 – Motta 7 (Matuidi 6) – Verratti 7.5 (Nkunku -), Rabiot 7.5 – Alves 8, Cavani 7, Pastore 7 (Guedes 6).
Unused subs: Jese, Kimpembe, Lo Celso, Trapp.
REFEREE: Noureddine El Jaafari
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