PSG have certainly not had a season to remember. It has been quite the opposite to last season when they reached the Champions League final for the first time. For PSG, the Champions League represents their biggest aim every season. The French side have continuously cruised to the French League title in recent years. As such, the one challenge they face each year is the Champions League. However, this season is shaping up to be their worst in years as they look set to be pipped to the French league title.
PSG’s dominance of French soccer started in 2012 and they haven’t looked back since. They have won 7 of the previous 8 league titles. The only exception to this was in 2016-17 when Monaco, backed by big money, pipped PSG to the crown. Prior to this season, you would have struggled to find anyone who thought PSG would not make it 8 titles in 9 years. However, this now seems a distinct possibility. They trail Lille by 3 points with only 2 games to go. As well as this, they have got Monaco and Lyon breathing down their necks in 3rd and 4th. This is how the top four stand with two games left to play:
1st – Lille – 79 points from 36 games
2nd – PSG – 76 points from 36 games
3rd – Monaco – 74 points from 36 games
4th – Lyon – 73 points from 36 games
What is staggering about this is that there are currently only 6 points from 1st to 4th. This is in direct contrast to the previous three seasons. In 2019-20 the final gap from 1st to 4th was 19 points, in 2018-19 it was 25 points and in 2017-18 it was 16 points. For the gap now to be just 6 points highlights how much closer the French league has been in 2021. This has allowed a remarkable 4 teams to be in the hunt for the title with 2 games to go.
For PSG, this is a disastrous collapse and PSG fans must be wondering what has happened. They have won the previous 3 league titles by 12 points, 16 points and 13 points. The fact that the Parisian side could finish as low as 4th this term is shocking.
Champions League capitulation:
As I wrote about in my round up of the Champions League semi-finals, PSG were comfortably dumped out of the competition by Manchester City. This would undoubtedly have been a very disappointing result for the Parisians as they were looking to build upon reaching last years final. They were comfortably the best team in the first half of the first leg in Paris. However, all they had to show for it was 1 goal from Marquinhos. Following that half, Manchester City took complete control. They ended up winning the first leg 2-1 and cruising through the second leg 2-0.
As the tie wore on, PSG lost their composure as it was clear they would not be progressing. They had a man sent off in both legs and received 6 yellow cards across the tie. This felt like a return to the irrational PSG who would often lose their cool on the biggest of stages. Having reached the final last year, it seemed as though they had turned a corner and had matured into a stable side. However, this tie seems to have set them back and it was a disappointing return of the old PSG.
Where do they go from here:
Next season must require a reset for PSG to get back to their winning ways. One significant thing they have done in recent days is tie Neymar down. He has signed a new deal which will reportedly earn him $36 million a year. The new contract will also keep him in Paris until June 2026. Having one of their star men secured at least offers some sort of stability for the side.
Alongside this, they undoubtedly have one of the most talented coaches in the game leading them into next season. Mauricio Pochettino came in mid season and with a full pre season with the squad, you would imagine he can get them playing much better and more consistent soccer next season. With players such as Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Marquinhos, Angel Di Maria, Mauro Icardi and Marco Verratti results simply have to improve.