PSG returned to the Parc des Princes for the 29th matchday of the Ligue 1 and lost 0-1 to the visiting Lyon. This defeat marked the second consecutive league loss of PSG, and the fifth this season. This was, also, the second loss at home by PSG since they did for the last time in April 2021 (before they dropped one to Rennes before the break).
In a game in which PSG shot fewer than five times on goal and lost ground with their most immediate chasers in the table, the crowd of the Parc booed Lionel Messi and all of his pals in another day to forget ending in defeat to one of the most mediocre squads in the French top-flight division.
Christophe Galtier was stubborn as ever, used a five-man, three-center-back defensive line even though that meant baking subpar players into it, and obviously ended up losing another game but incredibly retaining his position as manager of PSG.
Here are three of the most important talking points after the loss of the Parisian in the game between PSG and Lyon as part of the 29th matchday of their Ligue 1 campaign.
1. After recent manager sackings, Christophe Galtier is playing with fire
Do the names Julian Nagelsmann and Graham Potter ring a bell? They should because they were the managing top-tier teams around Europe in Bayern Munich and Chelsea respectively. Keyword: were. Both got sacked in the past few days and so should PSG's Christophe Galtier.
These two decisions were somewhat surprising for a good share of people. Both Bayern and Chelsea made it to the last-eight round of the Champions League. Bayern eliminated PSG on their way there beating the Parisian club 3-0 on aggregate, winning both at their stadium and on the road.
Meanwhile, peace reigns in the French capital even though Galtier has, somehow, lost his second game in a row in the Ligue 1, his fifth league game, and his eighth game in all competitions in the 2023 calendar year alone. What more is needed for PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi to pull the trigger?
Considering the current trend of manager sackings and the fact that Galtier has lost eight games in barely over three months of play in 2023 (that had not happened at PSG since 2001, a decade before the arrival of QSI), one has to wonder if Galtier's days in the capital are numbered and if that count will run out before the season is over.
2. The Ligue 1 title is not a given all of a sudden
PSG entered the weekend knowing Olympique Marseille had dropped two points after drawing their game on Friday. The opportunity was there to put quite a bridge between them in second place and Paris in first. Of course, Paris Saint-Germain failed again.
Looking at the Ligue 1 table is already worrying by itself. PSG lead the way, of course, with a six-point padding between them and new-second-place team Lens (60 points), tied with OM but leading on goal difference.
Now, adding wood to the Parisian fire, PSG still have games on their schedule against Nice, Lens, and Lorient. Those three teams are ranked eighth, second, and 10th in the table.
PSG is coming off losing back-to-back games to sixth-place Rennes and ninth-place Lyon. Lorient, just in case, is tied with OL both having 44 points through 29 games.
Things aren't looking easy for Paris Saint-Germain in isolation. They're looking rather worse when put in the proper context. Fasten your seatbelts.
3. Is Kylian Mbappe really worth keeping as the face of PSG's future?
Is Mbappe a top-3 player in the world? Most probably, the answer is yes. Is Mbappe a top-3 player for this version of PSG? Most probably, the answer is no.
Having Mbappe, Lionel Messi, and (when not injured) Neymar in the same XI is inevitably going to lead PSG to score more goals than their opponents more often than not. However, that lineup comes with heavy negatives.
No need to discuss all points here other than the most prominent and glaring fault of the system: a rather depressing lack of pressure and defensive efforts.
Someone of a similar ilk to Mbappe is playing at Manchester City. Erling Haaland is his name. He plays for a team so perfectly engineered and organized. He can focus (most) on scoring because he's fed more than a fair amount of clear-cut chances to bag and put past opposing goalies.
Mbappe, on the other hand, should work a lot for that to happen as the rest of the Paris Saint-Germain players are 1) not built to recover balls or play stout defense/pressing and 2) not feeding him great balls, or at least not generating chances as clear as those arriving in Haaland's island.
The question Nasser Al-Khelaifi should ask himself is very simple: would you rather build a team around Mbappe (which so far has proved a constant and costly failure), or compensate for Mbappe's sale by bolstering all lines in the formation with the profit earned by both the fee paid by whoever (Real Madrid) buy him and the money saved in his massive wages?
The answer should be clear. Spoiler: it's the painful one. Sometimes, though, it's better to cut ties early than prolong an inevitable, horrid ending.