No first victory for Mauricio Pochettino’s premiere. Paris Saint-Germain could not do better than 1-1 on the lawn of AS Saint-Étienne on Wednesday evening as part of the 18th day of Ligue 1. The Greens even managed to open the scoring at the 19th minute, thanks to Romain Hamouma. Moise Kean, however, managed to equalize quickly, in the 22nd.
Verratti’s first period as an advanced playmaker
As announced by RMC Sport since the day before the meeting, Marco Verratti has evolved higher than usual. He did not find himself in a pure number 10 role, as it might have been at the start of his career, but rather in a forward 8 position and very free in his movements. With Ander Herrera and Idrissa Gueye lower than him to ensure the first raises, the Italian midfielder limited his stalls and instead made sure to make himself available 30 meters from the opposing goal.
It was not always easy for him to get rid of the tight grid of the Stéphanois block, which will raise questions against an opponent capable of even more densifying his zone. It has nevertheless largely fulfilled its mission. Few of the interesting situations did not come through him. Proof of his influence and his good performance in this role: it is by being in the area of Jessy Moulin that he was able to deliver his first decisive pass by offering the equalizing goal to Moise Kean.
Pochettino used two systems
The departure of Thomas Tuchel undoubtedly sounded the death knell for 3-5-2. Mauricio Pochettino therefore chose to start the meeting in a 4-3-3 with a high point. Unsurprisingly, the full-backs still continued to play high and close to the sideline. On the other hand, contrary to what was done before, the phases of possession did not give rise to a systematic dropout of a midfielder to insert himself between the two central defenders (Marquinhos and Thilo Kehrer). Ander Herrera has done it sometimes, but only intermittently. This could explain some mistakes in the face of a few pressing sequences, but also the opening of the Stéphanoise score. This was the consequence of a revival in the not really ideal axis of Thilo Kehrer for Idrissa Gueye, guilty of a loss of ball after being squeezed by two players at the entrance of the Parisian rectangle.
Dull after the break, Paris Saint-Germain then went to 4-4-2 on the hour mark. A system change made with the entry of Julian Draxler for Idrissa Gueye. Little successful, Kylian Mbappé abandoned his left side to refocus next to Moise Kean. However, the adjustments did not have the desired effects. Ball possession even collapsed, from 78% -22% to 57% -43%.
In the end, Paris did not really play well
Unsurprisingly, because Mauricio Pochettino can not do miracles after three training sessions, Paris Saint-Germain did not play well overall. The good performance of Marco Verratti in the first period was the tree that hides the forest. Many players have provided insufficient services, such as Kylian Mbappé, Angel Di Maria or even Mitchel Bakker (whose quality of center still leaves something to be desired). Thilo Kehrer, he still showed signs of feverishness. As for the Parisian occasions, they were ultimately rather rare and timid.
The second half even gave an impression of lack of control, recalling some of the difficulties of Thomas Tuchel’s last games after each half. The capital club even almost got punished in the 70th minute, with a header from Denis Bouanga who hit the crossbar. The work has only just begun.