Laurent Blanc Must Learn Lessons and Give Youth a Chance at PSG

Andrew Gibney@@gibney_aFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2015

PSG's forward Jean-Kevin Augustin (R) celebrates after scoring against Fiorentina during their International Champions Cup match at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, on July 21, 2015. PSG defeated Fiorentina 4-2. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD        (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
JEWEL SAMAD/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain scored four goals on Tuesday night as they comfortably beat Italian side Fiorentina 4-2 at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey in the International Champions Cup.

It was their second game in the competition, and so far they have scored seven goals, won both matches but conceded four. The standout player for Laurent Blanc’s team this summer has undoubtedly been young 18-year-old striker, Jean-Kevin Augustin.

He scored twice against Austrian side Wiener SK before travelling to America and opening the scoring in the 3-2 win over Benfica at the weekend.

On Tuesday, the young forward would again prove to be decisive, notching another two goals against the Serie A side.

Blaise Matuidi had already given PSG a 1-0 lead, timing his run to perfection to turn in Gregory van der Wiel’s low cross from the right, and the France international would then turn provider in the 40th minute.

Using his superb left foot, Matuidi cut inside and picked up Augustin with a perfect through ball and the striker didn’t need to take a touch before sliding it past Ciprian Tatarusanu.

[Vidéo] Le but d' #Augustin Vs Fiorentina #PSGFIO #PSG https://t.co/JAGcjMGmdy

— Paris No Limit™ (@ParisNoLimit) July 22, 2015

The New Jersey crowd were given a fairly entertaining spectacle, Fiorentina’s Joaquin scoring the best goal of the night as he superbly curled in a long-range effort to make it 2-1 on the hour.

HARRISON, NJ - JULY 21:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic #10 of Paris Saint-Germain celebrates his goal in the second half against AFC Fiorentina during the International Champions Cup at Red Bull Arena on July 21, 2015 in Harrison, New Jersey.Paris Saint-Germain defe
Elsa/Getty Images

They then got what they came for as Zlatan Ibrahimovic finished from close range after Brazilian Lucas Moura picked him out with a lovely ball over the top. However, it was Augustin who would again steal the show.

With 15 minutes left, the teenager latched on to Jean-Christophe Bahebeck’s pass before looking up and firing past substitute goalkeeper Luca Lezzerini for his second and PSG’s fourth.

[Vidéo] Le 2e but d'#Augustin Vs Fiorentina #PSGFIO #PSG https://t.co/rxJAD7FFAw

— Paris No Limit™ (@ParisNoLimit) July 22, 2015

"Tonight was an important challenge from a physical point of view and we worked hard,” Ibrahimovic told PSG’s official website after the game. "We are still missing a few players, but those that played tonight did a good job."

That takes Augustin’s tally to five goals in three games in this pre-season, making a fantastic case to feature on a regular basis in the upcoming league campaign.

However, for it to happen there will need to be a change of attitude from the PSG coach. Just 12 months ago, Augustin’s team-mate Bahebeck enjoyed a similar vein of form, scoring five goals in five pre-season games.

In the first 10 weeks of the season, Bahebeck only started once—even though Ibrahimovic was out injured—playing a total of 320 minutes in that spell. In his 15 appearances, he averaged just over 37 minutes of action, scoring twice.

Despite a squad full of attacking options, Bahebeck usually impressed and made an impact when he featured, but he was never allowed to build upon that success. Now, the forward is being linked with a loan move to Saint-Etienne, via Goal (in French), as more and more names are rumoured to join the Parisians, Bahebeck’s chances to feature continue to diminish.

PSG's forward Jean-Kevin Augustin celebrates after scoring against Fiorentina during their International Champions Cup match at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, on July 21, 2015. PSG defeated Fiorentina 4-2. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD        (Photo
JEWEL SAMAD/Getty Images

Although you can’t take too much from pre-season matches, Augustin has shown a clinical edge in front of goal. His movement is sharp and he has the speed and movement to trouble most Ligue 1 defences.

Rather than spending an eight-figure sum on another name to put on the back of shirts, Blanc should put more faith in his young striker. Augustin was named on the bench nine times last season but never played a single minute.

There is absolutely no reason why he can’t play 20-30 minutes off the bench when either PSG are struggling for goals or have already put three past the opposition.

If Blanc can’t find Augustin regular minutes, he will either follow the example of Kingsley Coman—leaving the club to further his career—or, like Bahebeck, Youssouf Sabaly and Alphonse Areola and spend the next three or four seasons on loan, waiting for a chance to shine.

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