PSG vs. Barcelona: What We Learned About the Parisians
PSG finished their preparations for the coming season with a tasty matchup with Barcelona this past Saturday. With the money spent by PSG over the last year, many were curious to see how their project would match up against the best in the world.
While PSG fell to Barcelona in penalty kicks, this game showed everyone a lot about the boys in blue. Carlo Ancelotti was able to take several positives away from this match that will help PSG in their Champions League quest.
PSG Have Great Depth
The thing that helps to separate the great teams from the good ones is depth.
There comes times in every season where the club has to rely on its bench players to come through. With all the competitions teams are involved in, there cannot be a drop off at any position if they expect to compete on all fronts.
PSG played without Motta, Silva and Sissokho. Motta and Silva project to be preferred starters this season while Sissokho will also be expected to contribute along the way. Despite these three missing, PSG was able to match up well with Barcelona throughout the match. With so many subs used, it was obvious that PSG have the depth to be a major player on all competition fronts.
PSG Showed Character in Their Comeback
Being down 2-0 to the best team in the world in a preseason match would make most squads say let us try and keep it from being a blowout. PSG became more aggressive and clawed back for a 2-2 tie, and had opportunities to steal the game away late. This showed tremendous character by the squad as it never panicked or went into a defensive shell trying to prevent an embarrassment. Coming from behind to force penalties will be a huge confidence boost to a squad already full of it.
Ibrahimovic Will Be Worth Every Penny
While he scored from the spot, Ibra looked very dangerous against a team that knows him very well. When teams as talented as Barcelona who also know Ibrahimovic well have troubles in handling his presence, then it will be an absolute nightmare for others.
The scary part about his performance is he has only spent a week and a half with PSG. When he and his teammates learn each other, there will be an endless amount of magic. Ligue 1 and Champions League opponents beware, Ibrahimovic's presence makes PSG one of the most dynamic offenses in the world.
Javier Pastore Will Be the Xavi of Ligue 1
Pastore was the only player for PSG to play the full 90 minutes against Barcelona, which says a great deal about his conditioning heading into the season.
PSG put him in a midfield playmaking position to support the attack led by Lavezzi, Ibra and Nene. He looked very comfortable against a formidable opponent. While not as powerful as his countryman Lionel Messi, he still possesses a fluid quality to his game with incredible technical skill. His all around abilities will have him playing a Xavi type midfield general role. Pastore has the ability in himself and those around him to be successful in this. With Pastore putting pressure on opposing defenses with his accurate passes and ability to take defenders on, the PSG offense will excel. Expect his goal-scoring tally to be lower, but his assist level should top the Ligue 1 charts.
PSG Are Ready to Compete with the Top Teams
Barcelona is still going to be the favorite if we see a repeat matchup in the Champions League, but PSG have closed the gap considerably this summer.
Based on how PSG performed against Barcelona, and taking into account who did not play and the lack of understanding among the front line, PSG will be much stronger by the time the quarterfinals of the CL roll around. It will not be a shock to see them take out a Barca, Real Madrid, Manchester United or Bayern Munich in a home and away series.