Paris Saint-Germain finally sealed a second consecutive Ligue 1 title on Wednesday, but they had to rely on En Avant de Guingamp's 1-1 draw with AS Monaco to do so. The French champions lost 2-1 on the night to Stade Rennais at the Parc des Princes but celebrated prior to kick-off after discovering that they had been crowned champions without even having to kick a ball.
The performance matched the anti-climatic sense of occasion, with PSG delivering a flat performance that once again smacked of complacency. Despite Ezequiel Lavezzi scoring a third-minute opener for the hosts and sending the home crowd into a carnival mood, Rennes fought back through goals from Foued Kadir and Paul-Georges Ntep.
Overall, PSG can have few complaints about the result, as Philippe Montanier's men fully deserved the three points that they emerged with. However, this sort of lethargic performance has become common from the Parisians over the past few months.
As recently as the end of March—prior to their UEFA Champions League quarter-final first-leg victory over Chelsea—PSG were 13 points clear of Monaco at the summit of Le Championnat. Now just seven points ahead of Les Monegasques, this dull end-of-season form is threatening to take the shine off of what has been an otherwise thoroughly dominant campaign.
Since that Champions League exit, the players have not been the same. It is as if they have lost some of their self-belief that had been built up in the run to the quarter-finals, and their interest in all domestic matters have waned dramatically.
However, the capital club's European exit is not entirely to blame. It is not like PSG's complacency in league fixtures is anything new—there were similar problems last season, in fact—and this is something that must be addressed.
Currently, there are too many poor attitudes on the pitch that belong to players who represent substantial investment from the French giants. For example, the likes of Javier Pastore—a €42 million signing back in 2011—do not do enough to justify the handsome fee paid for their services, and the enigmatic Argentine has actually become an overpriced luxury fringe player.
It is these sorts of attitudes that are dragging the team down and stopping them from becoming the truly dominant force everyone expects them to be in Europe and well as in France.
UEFA's impending financial fair play sanctions (FFP) might be seen as a positive thing in the French capital then.
Although the measures will make life difficult in the short term for PSG, the penalties offer the club the chance to root out some of its most overpaid, underachieving stars and utilise other non-integral high earners to snare homegrown players who will aid next season's European campaign.
PSG are a good team at present, but this end-of-season run of form is once again demonstrating that they are still not as good as they think they are.
Of course, some slack should be cut after a draining season has resulted in a second successive Ligue 1 title and a first-ever league and domestic cup double, so one or two disappointing performances and results would be understandable.
But this is not one or two results against teams in the top half of the table. These alarming performances and results have come against sides fighting for their lives at the foot of the table and at a time when there should have been no shortage of motivation for the PSG players.
Blanc's side struggled past FC Lorient and OGC Nice prior to the Chelsea clash, before recently only edging Evian Thonon Gaillard with a dramatic late winner. The team were then held to a draw away at FC Sochaux-Montbeliard—having taken the lead—before the same thing happened against Rennes, only the Breton side managed to breach the PSG defence twice.
With two games left, PSG only need two points to set a new record for the best points tally in a single Ligue 1 season.
There should still be no shortage of motivation when there are still records to be broken, but any more performances like Sochaux and Rennes, and PSG could potentially only finish the season one point clear of Monaco—an inaccurate reflection of their general dominance this term.
Until UEFA publish the details of the FFP sanctions, it is unclear just how severely affected PSG will be. According to the Daily Mail’s Martin Samuel and Chris Wheeler, the French champions could receive as little as a one-off €24 million (£20 million) fine. If true, FFP will likely change little for PSG.
However, if the sanctions are more harsh and the Parisians are forced to consider some sacrifices in order to satisfy UEFA, then it could turn out to be a good thing for PSG on the pitch.
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