Despite Having A Team Of Superstars – PSG Still Have To Be Admired

If PSG are level or losing at the 80th-minute mark in any Ligue 1 game, prepare yourself for a crash course in the not-so-subtle dark arts from the opposition team. Indeed, the next ten minutes and whatever is added on as injury time will probably see PSG’s rivals make no attempt to play football but rather disrupt the rhythm of the game in any way possible. 

It truly is a sight to behold and if you’re witnessing these unsporting antics from across the Channel in the UK for the first time, chances are you’ll quickly change your mind about what PSG are up against in Ligue 1. Yes, they have an embarrassment of riches and a squad (Via ESPN) that one thought only really possible to build on the video game FIFA, but nothing is handed to them in the French top-flight.  

Far from it when you consider that they still have to earn the right to be crowned league champions against the most cynical of opposition. 

Perhaps the best recent example of this came in late September when Mauricio Pochettino’s men had to travel to northeast France to play against bottom of the table Metz (ESPN Match Report).

It was a fixture that most had PSG down to win given that it was first against last in the league table, and with PSG the overwhelming favourites for the title in the latest Ligue 1 football betting markets, the chances of an upset were slim to none. As mentioned, on paper, it was a straightforward assignment which is why no one was surprised when right-back Achraf Hakimi put PSG ahead after just five minutes. 

But as so often happens with PSG when they score early, they go into a lethargic lull and tread water until the inevitable happens, they only had to wait until the thirty-ninth minute for that to take place in this instance.

Indeed, Boubakar Kouyaté was the man to rise highest and head home from a corner to draw Metz level.

The score would stay like that until the eightieth minute when Metz began kicking lumps out of the PSG players as they threatened to get closer to goal. The time-wasting would have driven the most patient amongst us to pull their hair out. Astonishingly, it was so cynical that the referee sent the Metz captain off and then sent the Metz manager off.

Now, you may be getting a better sense of what PSG are up against on a weekly basis. 

Still, a bruised and battered PSG did their best to try and win and in injury time, a turning Neymar with a fraction of space got away from his man, he played in Achraf Hakimi who slotted home to give the resilient Parisians the win. It was a victory for football as much as anything else. 

Now, you may be tempted to scoff at that given that PSG have a reputation for not being the poster boys of fair play themselves, especially in a financial sense.

That is certainly a discussion to be had on another day, however, should those same cynical tactics ever make their way across the Channel to the Premier League, there would be an outcry from supporters.

Indeed, PSG have to win games when the ball is in play for no longer than 120 seconds from the 80th minute onwards. In reality, a lot of the time they get fifteen minutes fewer than other teams do to win games. 

One probably has to watch a PSG game to come to this conclusion but with this in mind, you have to admire the way PSG still find a way to win despite coming up against these distasteful tactics time and time again.

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