Paris Saint Germain began this season making serious headlines when they signed Neymar from Barcelona for a staggering £200 million. Many expected this to be the campaign where PSG really announced themselves as not just a force to be reckoned with domestically but on the European stage too. They’ve splashed the cash, not just on Neymar, but they also have a deal lined up to turn Kylian Mbappe’s loan move permanent. However, the question still remains as to whether they have what it takes to win the Champions League?
PSG were drawn in Group B of the competition and made light work of things too. Also in their group were Celtic, Anderlecht and German giants Bayern Munich. PSG brushed Celtic aside winning 5-0 at Celtic Park and 7-1 in their home fixture. Anderlecht proved no match for Unai Emery’s side too, as they beat them 4-0 away and 5-0 at home. PSG were also hugely impressive in their 3-0 victory over Bayern Munich at the Parc des Princes, however they did lose in Munich 3-1.
Even though Paris Saint Germain had already qualified for the knockout stages, Bayern’s victory showed that they were beatable; and this certainly sent out a message to the rest of the competition. PSG were drawn against Zinedine Zidane and defending champions Real Madrid in the next stage and things didn’t go to plan in their opening fixture.
Everybody expected an entertaining game and the majority probably felt that PSG would run out winners, especially as Real Madrid have been out of sorts so far this season. Adrien Rabot put PSG 1-0 up, giving them a vital away goal at the Bernabeu, before Cristiano Ronaldo levelled things up from the spot. Real then went on to score a quick fire double through Ronaldo and then Marcelo in the closing stages, seeing them run out as 3-1 winners on the night.
What really changed the game and swung things in Madrid’s favour was Zidane’s substitutions; which saw him introduce Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez and Gareth Bale. Unai Emery did bring on Thomas Meunier and Julian Draxler, but they didn’t have the desired effect; plus Real seemed to be the side who wanted to force the issue.
It is going to be difficult for PSG to turn around a 2 goal deficit, especially against the defending champions but it’s certainly not impossible. In fact, established betting sites like Unibet have PSG as 3/4 favourites, whilst Real Madrid is 16/5 to win the match. Unai Emery’s men are very hard to beat at home and they’re also a serious goal threat to any side. They beat Barcelona 4-0 at the Parc des Princes in the last 16 at this stage last season, and that was without Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
If Paris Saint Germain come out of the traps fast and score the first goal, there is no reason why they can’t then go on to eliminate Real Madrid from the competition. Beating Zidane’s side, especially when starting with a two goal deficit, would certainly put them in contention to win the tournament itself. However, if Real score first at the Parc des Princes, it could mean another season of disappointment for PSG in Europe.