Could 2015 See Yohan Cabaye Salvage PSG Career After Inter Milan Friendly Goal?

Jonathan Johnson@@Jon_LeGossipFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2014

PSG's Yohan Cabaye, left, celebrate his side's fourth goal during a Champions League round of the last 16 first leg soccer match between Bayer Leverkusen and Paris Saint-Germain in Leverkusen, Germany, Tuesday Feb. 18, 2014.  (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Paris Saint-Germain ended 2014 on a positive note with a 1-0 win over Inter Milan at Grand Stade de Marrakech on Tuesday to end the Qatar Winter Tour of Morocco successfully. It has been a testing couple of days for the French champions, with coach Laurent Blanc’s hopes for a concentrated environment dashed by some unforeseen circumstances.

Les Parisiens’ match-winner on the night came courtesy of forgotten man Yohan Cabaye. The French international midfielder ghosted in unmarked after 57 minutes to slot home after Gregory van der Wiel’s cross from the right deflected into his path, which was all the Ligue 1 side needed in the end.

Michel Euler/Associated Press

Although the game was a largely futile exercise, with little in the way of quality football played, Cabaye arguably gained the most from the clash because it will serve as a reminder that the 28-year-old is still there in the squad and capable of doing a job.

In poor form since the start of the season, Blanc was understandably reluctant to give the former Lille OSC and Newcastle United man a chance to replace the ageing Thiago Motta as PSG’s deep-lying defensive midfielder. However, Cabaye’s goal has suggested that the Frenchman might be ready to put the Italian under greater pressure from the start of 2015.

With Blanc now accepting and even publicly acknowledging Motta’s decline in form, Le President may need to turn to the man whom he made the creative hub of his France team when in charge of Les Bleus between 2010 and 2012.

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Although PSG’s defensive struggles and wastefulness in front of goal remain concerning, Motta’s loss of form and mobility is arguably the most pressing issue for Blanc to solve at this time.

David Luiz stepping into midfield from the heart of the defence would create a space in the back line for the impressive Marquinhos to fill, while the former’s move forward would make the midfield more dynamic. However, Cabaye is a more natural fit in Motta’s deep-lying role and would be a reliable enough option in place of the Italian.

If Blanc were to decide to go with this idea, then it would present Cabaye with an unlikely shot at redemption.

Jacques Brinon/Associated Press

Up until now, it has been difficult for the PSG No. 4 to break into Blanc’s plans. No matter how well the Frenchman could have played, he knew that Motta was pretty much untouchable in Les Parisiens’ midfield three.

However, now Blanc is under pressure to make changes, and it appears that even the Frenchman sees that his No. 8 is well below the levels of performance he was reaching last season. Cabaye, if given a few consecutive games, could become a genuine alternative to Motta in the PSG midfield.

Jacques Brinon/Associated Press

The French international will need more than just a goal in an ultimately meaningless friendly against Inter in Morocco. Cabaye will need to build up some momentum with this and take the first chance he gets in early 2015, which could be away at Montpellier HSC in the Coupe de France next week.

If Cabaye can put in an encouraging display on the back of the Inter success, then maybe he does have a future at Parc des Princes after all. There is a long way to go, though.

Should the France star find himself turning his PSG career around, he will have to work extremely hard to remain consistent enough to keep that place in the starting XI once he takes it over. One thing is for certain—Cabaye will never have a better chance to oust Motta than he does at present.


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