PSG Too Slick for Barça
David Luiz, Verratti and Matuidi netted the goals for the hosts
Messi equalised and Neymar gave Barça hope of a comeback
Laurent Blanc’s PSG side gave Barcelona a thorough examination in Paris, using the same methodology which, until recently was the Catalan club’s reserve. Deprived of several of their key players such as Thiago Silva, Ibrahimovic and Lavezzi, the Parisians excelled at moving the ball about, apply pressure in attack, defend high up the pitch and reduce Barcelona to a team who were dependent on moments of inspiration from their star players. In other words, precisely what used to happen when these two sides met in the recent past, but the other way around.
PSG won the contest 3-2 – a result which hardly reflected the French side’s superiority against a catastrophic, calamitous Barça who were bereft of ideas. Luis Enrique gambled everything on the hope that Messi would single-handedly resolve the game or some stratospheric move might come off for Neymar.And added to that, the Blaugrana defence was a complete disaster – but for no fault of Ter Stegen who conceded the team’s first three goals of the season in all competitions.
The two full-backs were torn apart – in either direction, while the centre-backs were defective. And so it was hardly surprising that PSG scored their first two goals from set-pieces. Mascherano will never be able to keep David Luiz in check.In the centre of the park, Rakitic looked lost against a side of Champions League level, Iniesta flitted in and out of the game, Busquets foundered once again… In Paris, it was Pastore, arguably Blanc’s most inconsistent performer who provided the creativity and dictated play alongside Lucas Moura.
Luis Enrique bided his time before introducing Xavi, who overtook Raúl in Champions League appearances on a night when Barça were in freefall.Barça always looked like they were chasing the game – even when they had levelled. They never looked as though they might go on to win the game, save a Messi miracle. But sooner or later the Argentinean will get tired of getting the team out of jail.
Meanwhile, Barça had all of their shortcomings well and truly exposed in the French capital.