Emery finally gets it right against Barcelona
It’s fair to say Unai Emery’s record against Barcelona is nothing short of dreadful, but then he’s not alone in that. Ahead of Tuesday’s clash he had faced them 23 times as a coach, and won just once, a rather fortuitous 2-1 victory with Sevilla. However, at Parc des Princes he got it absolutely spot on, not only beating the Catalans but also pulling off one of the greatest results in PSG’s history along the way. His team were outstanding, pressing Barca to perfection, Julian Draxler tormented Sergio Roberto all night while Marco Verratti and Angel Di Maria were phenomenal.
PSG will struggle to hang onto Verratti
To put it simply, Verratti ran the show against the favourites for the Champions League, and seems to reserve his best form for this competition. His future has long been the subject of hot debate but this is the kind of performance that will reignite speculation from all over the continent. His agent has spoken of interest from Madrid, Barca and Juventus while Manchester United are frequently linked. After this kind of display, it’s easy to see why.
Barcelona have massive problems
Tuesday’s result was one of those that make you double take. Yes PSG really did beat Barcelona 4-0, equalling the Catalans’ biggest away defeat in the tournament and to be honest it could have been more. Luis Enrique may have been without Javier Mascherano and Aleix Vidal but a club of Barcelona’s stature should be able to cope far better with a couple of injuries. Samuel Umtiti and Sergio Roberto came in for the duo and both endured torrid evenings. Fingers will also be pointed at Andre Gomes, a surprise inclusion, and a poor choice for the summer signing was absolutely awful. Barca’s defence is simply not good enough, the midfield was easily outshone and no-one knows if Luis Enrique will stay on past the end of the season.
Draxler can fulfil his potential at PSG
The Germany international is already looking a superb signing for Paris Saint-Germain. The 23-year-old had already scored four goals for his new side ahead of kick-off and added a fifth just before half-time, his first in the Champions League. He also had a hand in the first goal, Samuel Umtiti clipping Draxler on the edge of the box and conceding the foul from which Angel Di Maria opened the scoring. His troubled spell at Wolfsburg had left many in doubt of his true qualities but having scored on his league, cup and now Champions League debut for his new club he’s showing exactly why PSG were willing to spend big on him this winter.
Champions League is wide open this season
It’s not quite over, they are now 50/1 to win the Champions League, but surely even Barcelona are not going to be able to turn this around. The biggest deficit a team has managed to claw back is 4-1 and Barca look to have given themselves too much to do. Yet Tuesday’s win simply highlights the fact there is no runaway favourite to win this competition. As brilliant as PSG were, they stuttered in qualifying and finished runners-up behind Arsenal who many expect to be dumped out by Bayern. Tuesday’s other game also provided something of a shock with Benfica beating Borussia Dortmund and all the teams left in the tournament will now fancy their chances.
PSG: Trapp 6, Meunier 8, Marquinhos 7, Kimpembe 8, Kurzawa 7, Verratti 9 (Nkunku 7), Rabiot 7.5, Di Maria 9 (Lucas Moura 7), Matuidi 8, Draxler 8.5 (Pastore 6), Cavani 8.
Unused subs: Areola, Maxwell, Aurier, Ben Arfa,
Barcelona: ter Stegen 8, Sergi Roberto 3, Pique 5, Umtiti 4, Jordi Alba 5, Andre Gomes 3 (Rafinha), Busquets 5, Iniesta 5 (Rakitic 5), Messi 4, Luis Suarez 5, Neymar 6.
Unused subs: Cillessen, Denis Suarez, Alcacer, Digne, Mathieu.
Referee: Szymon Marciniak
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