Welcome to the first installment in a weekly series that will follow Paris Saint-Germain throughout the season. These installments will include match previews, recaps, other club news, player profiles, and more. If you have any thoughts on what you would like to see in these installments, feel free to voice them in the comments section.
Paris Saint-Germain has made a lot of noise this summer with the acquisition of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Ezequiel Lavezzi, and Marco Verratti. Adding the talents of these players to the existing squad has brought a lot of excitement and expectation to PSG for this season.
Lavezzi was the only one of the big four who was signed early enough to join the club in Austria for their preseason training. In their first preseason match, PSG registered a 9–0 drubbing of Austria minnows Stegersbach. It was 6–0 at halftime, and was more like a practice session than a game. Chantome, Luyindula, Bodmer, Armand, and Harau all struck for one, while Gameiro and Kebano both bagged a brace. Ezequiel Lavezzi did not dress for this match.
PSG followed up the Stegersbach massacre with a 2–2 draw against CSKA Moscow. PSG went up 2–0 in the second half after strikes by Luyindula and Gameiro. Defensive lapses saw CSKA equalize within 15 minutes. Playing the Russian club gave PSG some good competition early in their preparations for the coming season.
During the camp, Carlo Ancelotti got a chance to look at some of PSG’s promising youngsters. Of particular note is midfielder Adrien Rabiot. Rabiot just turned 17 in April and has the look of a midfield general for the future. Rabiot spent the last two years in the PSG academy where he has been on a fast rise to the senior squad.
The training camp in Austria was not all work as Ancelotti took the squad to a local go-kart track for some off the pitch competition. The camp provided good competition and fitness preparation as PSG turned its sights on a 10 day North American tour.
Once in America, PSG headed to Princeton University to continue their preseason training. After Friday’s training sessions, the team boarded a boat for a Nike photo shoot of this season’s away uniform. With the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop, the players showed off the predominately red jerseys they will wear on the road this year.
The team was able to show off the new road uniforms for Sunday night’s friendly against European Champions Chelsea. The match at Yankee Stadium must have seemed like a road game as the Chelsea supporters drastically outnumbered the PSG fans.
Despite the lack of support, PSG came out and took the game to Chelsea in the first half. Lavezzi looked very dangerous as he put pressure on Chelsea’s back four with his non-stop runs. PSG created more of the chances, and finally broke through when Pastore beat a few Chelsea defenders only to see his shot come off the post. Nene was there to clean up and put the ball into the net after a deflection.
The second half saw the introduction of several of PSG’s young players including Verratti, and Rabiot. Verratti looked very much in control during his debut. His technical skill was very evident. His confidence on the ball may get him in trouble as there was a time or two he tried to dribble out of pressure in his own half when a drop or boot away would have been better. Overall, the Italian had a good debut.
Despite some solid efforts in the second half Chelsea managed to draw level with a late strike. In the end it was a good result and a fine effort all around.
Tuesday saw the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the Princeton training camp. The presence of the Swedish forward is sure to draw a lot of fans to RFK when PSG takes on DC United this Saturday. Ancelotti believes Ibra will be able to see some action after training this week in Princeton.
The upcoming match with DC United should be a good test against a club that is in mid season form. DC has played some good soccer this season, and will be looking to make a mark against their high profile opponent.
DC has several players who contribute offensively with Chris Pontius and Dwayne De Rosario being the keys to the attack. Defensively, United has rising young talent Perry Kitchen. With Kitchen’s all around ability, it would not be a stretch to see him in playing in Europe in the next few years.
DC should be a good wrap up to the North American tour, and a nice tune up for the Barcelona friendly the following week.
This Weeks Results:
PSG- 1 Chelsea -1
PSG vs. DC United 7:30 Sat. July 28th (Fox Soccer Channel)
PSG vs. Barcelona Sat. August 4th
Look for the next installment of “PSG: Une Saison en Rouge et Bleu” next week.