PSG more than ever Verratti-dependent

FOCUS – Back against Nice, the Italian should regain his place in the eleven this Saturday (9 p.m.), in Lens. No luxury for this draft PSG.

Close to the goal and offensive players or behind, to ensure the first raise? « I prefer to have it on the ground quite simply», Smiled Mauricio Pochettino before the recent defeat against Manchester City (2-1). And to add: « He will always help the team. You can use it in different registers depending on the game, what you need.« In fact, the » Little Owl « , this »player exceptional« Of which Pep Guardiola said to himself »lover“After his stratospheric performance of the first leg against City (2-0), more than help Paris. It is the essential timing belt for a team that is looking for itself. If the Parisian staff is groping, the former Pescara manages to erase a number of flaws by his ability to get out of the pressing, his science of the pass. « Sometimes it’s even better when I’m in a hurry, it allows me to find a free player. I’ve always seen football like that … It’s up to us to find the free player, that’s football.In any case, it is his. Qualities, a profile that stand out within this PSG.

If he was recruited for this, Georginio Wijnaldum does not yet manage to give full satisfaction. However, there have been better things for the 31-year-old Dutch international on his last outings. Especially when he played… without Verratti for that matter. In the meantime, the two players were absent from the starting lineup against Nice (0-0) last Wednesday. Pochettino had therefore chosen to align three environments more destructive than creative, Danilo Pereira, Idrissa Gueye and the young Eric Dina Ebimbe. For the result that we know, even if PSG had possession (70%) and sent 22 shots in the direction of Walter Benitez’s goal (5 on target). « Mastery was not enough“Breathed Gana Gueye. The entry of Verratti at the hour of play, either. A game in the form of back to business for him. One more.

“Marco Verratti is very strong, one of the strongest I have seen physically, always 100%. « 

Mauricio Pochettino

« Marco is a very strong, very competitive player. We see it in matches, but also in training. He’s very strong, one of the strongest I’ve seen physically, still 100%« Promises Mauricio Pochettino, noting that the former Padawan of Thiago Motta had »bad luck on some injuries« . Bad luck, and no doubt also some discrepancies in terms of hygiene of life and invisible work … The fact remains that Verratti has not even played 70% of the matches since his arrival in the capital, in 2012 (see by elsewhere). That is to say 168 missed matches, often due to injury, also due to suspension, his other cute sin. Figures that are not at the level of Neymar Jr, who has only taken part in half of Paris Saint-Germain’s matches since his signing in 2017. But it is obviously insufficient and frustrating at the same time. Especially given the importance of Marco Verratti in the Parisian system. Just as there is a PSG without Kylian Mbappé and Marquinhos, the team is not doing well without him, orphan of his qualities in the heart of the game. We have seen it at the Etihad Stadium, facing pressure from Cityzens.

The hoped-for progression of « Gini » Wijnaldum will perhaps lessen the Verratti-dependence of the Red and Blue. In the meantime, it represents an inescapable reality. Obviously, it is not a problem to be dependent on the qualities of a player of his caliber. Except when the player in question so often squats in the infirmary … Since the start of the season, the former Pescara has already missed 13 matches, more than in the entire 2019-20 campaign (37 matches played, 12 missed ), ratiboisée due to pandemic. And yet, Verratti had found a way to miss the roll at the worst possible time that year, injuring himself in training before the quarter-finals of the Champions League and the « Final 8 » in Lisbon. A duel against the ex-Parisian Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting who had gone badly… The bad luck of which Pochettino speaks. Package against Atalanta and Leipzig, he did not reappear until the end of the final, against Bayern Munich. Too late (0-1 defeat).

Armand and Pilorget in the viewfinder, « Marqui » in the retro

Eternal returning, Verratti will not be too much to try to thwart the plans of the player team of Lens this Saturday (9 p.m.), during the 17th day of Ligue 1. Player, but which marks time, with three meetings in a row without victory (two draws, one loss). This match could also allow PSG, leader in the standings with 12 points ahead of OM (15 matches), to confirm their title of autumn champion. « It’s a very athletic, very physical team, which is having a very good season and has a very good squad, a very good coach. It will be a complicated match“, Foresees Pochettino, who will undoubtedly line up his essential Italian to Bollaert from the start, just to adapt as best as possible to the Lensois pressing and to put the offensives in the best conditions. « As we saw against Nice, the key is to score goals, to be more surgical in front of the cage“Swears the Argentine coach before Lens.

Besides Verratti, “Poche” can also count on Wijnaldum. To see if the former Liverpool is aligned from the start. This will not be the case for Sergio Ramos, forfeit and who will wait to play his second match in Red and Blue after his first promising in the snow of Saint-Etienne (1-3). Barring a bad surprise, it will be the 356th for Marco Verratti, the third most capped player in the history of the Parisian club behind Sylvain Armand (380) and Jean-Marc Pilorget (435). A record within the reach of the European champion transalpine, under contract until 2024. Unless Marquinhos (6th, 339 matches) does not polite him at the option of his repeated absences …

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