Friday, August 10, 2012

PSG...Ligue 1 theirs to lose?

So the Manchester City on the Seine has made a number of big time moves this transfer season. Doing some of their shopping in Italy, see below, as well as the top five most expensive transfers in Ligue 1:

Jul 12Thiago SilvaParis SG.Milan42
Aug 12Lucas MouraParis SG.Sao Paulo40
Jul 12Ezequiel LavezziParis SG.Napoli26
Jul 12Zlatan IbrahimovicParis SG.Milan21
Jul 12Marco VerrattiParis SG.Pescara11

With this new purchasing power, that puts PSG in the same level as the top clubs in Europe, it also puts expectations on a whole new level. One that PSG has seldom been able to live up to, even before the petro-dollars came pouring in.

Of course while PSG has been bringing in players, they teams that will challenge PSG are losing players - Lille lost their best player, and the best player in Ligue 1 Eden Hazard and they might also lose their right back Debuchy to Newcastle, Marseilles lost Diarra and their coach, defending title holders Montpellier lost Ligue 1 leading goal scorer Giroud and might lose young starlet Mbiwa.

Lyon has stood pat so far, but they are just trying to keep their key players, such as Lloris (who I still think would look very good in North London red) and Cissokho.

What me worry?
So it is PSG's title to some level yes. They came very close last season to capturing that elusive Ligue 1 title. Something they have not done since Weah and Ginola have graced the pitch at the Parc des Princes. The pressure does mount on Ancelotti now. How will he leverage all the assets he has?

What will he do with what appears to be a log jam at striker - Ibra, Hourau and Gameiro (I think one of the two French strikers will need to be sold). If Ancelotti sticks with his preferred formation of 4-3-2-1 he does not really need three international strikers. What about Nene? Will the Brazilian stay or does he not have a place on the field? Assume Menez, Lavezzi, Pastore and Verratti will be rotating for the two offensive roles...Nene seems odd man out. Especially with young Brazilian midfielder Moura coming in January. The three deep lying midfielders will most likely be a combination of Motta, Matuidi, Sissoko, Chantome and Bodmer - with the first three getting the bulk of the time.

The back line will also need some managing with a log jam at central defense, especially that Silva is now in the mix. He would appear to be a lock for one of the central roles. With Sakho seeming on the outside looking in, will he get moved? One area that is not a concern is in goal where Sirigu will continue to be PSG's #1, with Douchez more than capable as his back up.

PSG have a lot of options, a lot of money and a lot of expectations. With Champions League football as well as the expectations for Ligue 1 glory, much will depend on how the team is managed and how Ancelotti manages his players time and egos. PSG must get off to a good start and more importantly, they have to stop giving away points to teams they should beat. This has haunted them and cost them dearly over the past few seasons - two loses to lowly Nancy last season cost them the title....I think PSG will win the title this season and get to the knock out stage in the Champions League.

Look for Nene, Sakho and Gameiro to be moved before end of August or in the winter. Also look for PSG to make a big name signing over the winter as well.

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