Pastore's talent is worth the wait
It has been a long season to date for Paris St-Germain star Javier Pastore. His form has been of concern to fans, but if Tuesday was any indication, his run of bad form may be coming to an end.
Pastore was the catch of the 2011 summer transfer season. He was the crown jewel of PSG's new regime's first foray into the market.
Pastore arrived in Paris with high expectations to go along with his superb talent. His first season at PSG was a mixed bag, as his early form was spectacular but he tailed off during the second half of the season.
His second season in Paris has—much like the whole team—been a bitter disappointment. With this dip in form, Pastore has been pointed to as one of the more prominent reasons for the team's subpar displays.
His recent troubles have led to speculation about his future in Paris. Reports have suggested a return to Italy, and potential interest from the England. Even though Pastore and his agent have dismissed him leaving, one cannot know what ownership will do.
The root cause of Pastore's troubles has been one of the main debates among PSG fans this season. The theories cover a wide range of categories.
One theory is Pastore and this summer's big signing, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, have been unable to forge an understanding on the pitch. Ibrahimovic's presence has taken the ball off of Pastore's feet so to speak.
An attack that ran consistently through Pastore last season now goes through Ibrahimovic. This change may have unsettled the Argentinian playmaker, as he has gone from PSG's poster boy to playing second fiddle to Ibra.
Adjusting to the addition of a player like Ibrahimovic that commands so much attention and a change in tactics can be very difficult especially for younger players like Pastore.
While not fully being able to click with Ibra to this point may not be a surprise, having struggled to find a rhythm with fellow countryman Ezequiel Lavezzi has been. Lavezzi has been part of PSG's disappointment as well, but few would have predicted the lack of combined impact the two Argentinians would have at this stage.
In Pastore's first season, he found a deep on-the-pitch understanding with Nene. Unfortunately for Pastore (and Nene) the talented Brazilian has found himself out of favor with Carlo Ancelotti.
Without Nene, Pastore has seemed somewhat lost at times. His understanding with Lavezzi and Ibra has not been anywhere near the plane he shared with Nene.
While some of the blame rests clearly on the players, it has to be shared with the tactics and management. PSG has used multiple formations through all competitions and Ancelotti has continued to mix and match his players in an effort to find the right combination.
These strategies have more than likely disrupted the efforts of the team to achieve any cohesion and comfort with each other. While injuries and suspensions have played a role in this, Ancelotti has tinkered with his lineup even when he had a full squad to select from.
The worst thing for PSG ownership, coaches and fans to do is to give up on Pastore. His talent is on par with the best in the world.
When in form, the lanky midfielder can affect the game in multiple ways. His skill on the ball allows him to beat defenders on the run. His deft touch can open up any defense by finding teammates. His ability to strike the ball makes him a threat to goal from 30 meters in.
PSG would be best served to use his talents to quarterback the attack. His vision and creativity could open up an attack that has been a one-man show. Pastore seems to thrive when playing behind the striker/s where he can provide the final pass or have a go on goal.
Pastore has not yet reached his prime years. PSG need to resist any advances by other teams for his services. Pastore will regain his magic. There were more than enough flashes of it in the Champions League victory over Porto.
Waiting for Pastore to return to form will be worth it in the end. Here is hoping PSG ownership remains patient.