Evian Thonon Gaillard vs. Paris Saint-Germain: Ligue 1 Game's Winners and Losers
Paris Saint-Germain failed to win for the third time in their last four meetings at Evian Thonon Gaillard’s Parc des Sports in Annecy. The French champions allowed themselves to be held to a 0-0 draw in their third Ligue 1 fixture of the new season on Friday.
PSG’s Yohan Cabaye saw red as Laurent Blanc’s men were frustrated once again by their Savoyard hosts, who might have stolen a late win on another day.
It finished goalless, though, and, in truth, was not much of a spectacle. Les Parisiens’ striker Edinson Cavani missed a handful of chances, while Evian went close a number of times themselves, however, neither side created enough to warrant all three points.
0 - @PSG_inside hadn't played out a 0-0 in Ligue 1 since 11 January 2013 (v Ajaccio). Mute.— OptaJean (@OptaJean) August 22, 2014
"Evian TG were looking to steady themselves after a difficult start and defended very well," Blanc told PSG.fr. "We weren't able to cause them enough problems when we had 11 players and it was even more difficult when we were reduced to ten. Given the way the match went, I think it was a deserved point for Paris and a deserved point for Evian too."
"We didn't create enough dangerous situations to warrant the victory, so I have a mixed impression, but the performance was nothing to be worried about."
A draw is not fatal to PSG—although it might put coach Blanc under a bit of immediate pressure—while it helps Pascal Dupraz’s hosts finally stop the rot and get a point on the board in le Championnat.
Here are some winners and losers from PSG’s 0-0 draw at Evian.
Winner: Pascal Dupraz
The biggest winner from the 0-0 draw between Evian and PSG is the hosts’ coach Dupraz. The 51-year-old set his side up well with a game plan designed to stifle the capital club. It worked to perfection and the Savoyard outfit claimed their first point of the season.
220 - @etgfc haven't conceded a goal at home in their 220 minutes against PSG. Resistance.— OptaJean (@OptaJean) August 22, 2014
Considering they had conceded nine goals in their opening two matches, losing both, Evian limited PSG to a handful of half chances and the rarest of clear-cut openings. Because of that, Dupraz has been able to steady the ship somewhat and show that there could be life in his team yet.
Winner: Lucas Digne
There were not too many positives on the night for PSG, but one plus point was the continued development of left-back Lucas Digne. The French international kept his place in team ahead of seasoned veteran Maxwell and although the 21-year-old was not outstanding, he deserves to keep his place in the starting XI.
Digne’s continued inclusion from the start suggests he is arriving at a tipping point, which could see him permanently dislodge Maxwell as Blanc’s first-choice. In order to make sure that happens, though, the PSG No. 21 needs to continue to perform well on that left side for Blanc.
Although PSG did not win the clash with Evian and also failed to score, Blanc’s men did manage to keep a second consecutive clean sheet. Compatriot Marquinhos partnered David Luiz once again and the pair barely put a foot wrong all game.
The new arrival had to put in a brilliant last-ditch tackle at the end to ensure that the clean sheet was preserved, but Marquinhos’s mature performance was arguably a bigger positive than a continued good start to Luiz’s PSG career. The 20-year-old is seizing his chance to impress in Thiago Silva’s absence so far and will hope to continue to do so until he is fit to return.
Loser: Yohan Cabaye
The big loser on the night at Parc des Sports was PSG’s Yohan Cabaye. The French international’s disappointing start to life in the French capital continues with another limited performance, suggesting that he is not of sufficient quality to start regularly for Blanc’s men. Two bookings meant a red for the 28-year-old, who looked uninspired as part of a midfield three alongside Blaise Matuidi and Marco Verratti.
1 - @PSG_inside hadn't picked up a red card in Ligue 1 since 6 October 2013 (v Marseille). Rare.— OptaJean (@OptaJean) August 22, 2014
Since arriving at PSG from Newcastle United, Cabaye has struggled to impose himself at the Parc des Princes and his suspension following Friday’s dismissal will make it even more difficult to play his way into contention. If the Frenchman is not careful, he will be facing a potentially difficult decision over his future next summer.
Loser: Edinson Cavani
In the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, strike partner Cavani had the chance to step up and prove his worth to Blanc once again. After opening his account for the season with a well-taken goal against SC Bastia last week, the Uruguayan produced an insipid performance in Annecy that destroys the momentum built up in the 2-0 win over the Corsicans.
The 27-year-old continues to struggle with a malaise that has afflicted him since the beginning of 2014. But how much longer can PSG afford for this run of frustratingly inconsistent form to go on for?
Loser: Laurent Blanc
Perhaps most at fault for the Evian result—more so than his players—was PSG coach Blanc. Le President once again lost an opportunity to win a match based on his changes—or lack of them—by failing to make substitutions at the right moments to turn the game and then making the wrong alterations.
3 - PSG have only failed to score three times in Ligue 1 since last season; two of those were in Annecy against Evian TG. Yaute.— OptaJean (@OptaJean) August 22, 2014
Against Evian, in Ligue 1, this sort of tactical ineptitude will not see him ultimately made to pay the price. But if there is any sign of this sort of uncertainty in the UEFA Champions League, then PSG’s owners will not hesitate to make changes.