PSG got eliminated from the French Cup by Olympique Marseille on Wednesday night after losing 2-1 at the Stade Velodrome. It is the first time they lost away against OM in 11 years, nearly at the start of the QSI era.
No one was surprised, of course, because of the precarious run of results put together by PSG in 2023 and the oft-use methods and tinkering of coach Galtier. Even deploying his best-available XI, PSG fell to Marseille without having many chances of beating their rivals in this midweek Coupe Classique.
Here are the grades from our Parisian men after they crashed out of the French Cup against OM losing to Marseille at the Velodrome for the first time in more than 11 years. Spoiler: what is ahead is no bueno.
6 - Donnarumma: Can't blame him that much. One shot came from the spot and the other one was spot-on. Had he not played this game, PSG might have gone back to Paris with five or six goals against in their collective bags. Sucks for him because he gets the call with Navas gone at the worst possible moment against OM in a Coupe Classique, not least. That's not an excuse, but it's the highest of high-stakes matches. Perhaps an actually good, humbling, and level-heading experience for him ahead of Bayern so he stays alert.
6 - Ramos: The veteran was as good as he was bad, honestly, so I don't think you can really blast him underwater. Yes, the penalty was probably avoidable and a bit bull-in-a-china-shop reckless, but then he made up for the error by scoring the game-tying goal and nearly a second one two times (one disallowed, the other one stopped). His age keeps showing when and where it shouldn't, which is worrying going forward as he doesn't stop forwards from overtaking him anymore at this point in his career.
6 - Marquinhos: Seen some folks giving him gaudy high grades. To which I say, why? I loved the couple of tackles and blocks he completed as they were probably crucial, but I don't think he did more than Ramos as a whole even though the latter committed the penalty that put OM ahead. Good game for him, and thank God that ricocheted ball didn't end up inside the goal or he might have died in the spot due to a serious case of bad luck.
The goalie and the two center-backs were the best players of PSG in defeat. Imagine how things went for Paris.
5 - Nuno Mendes: Got a huge chance right at the start of the game but hit Pau Lopez (OM's goalkeeper) straight. Kept on going and was relentless in his runs forward but without much substance to them. He could have scored that one, but it's not that he could have done more with the touches he got. Not counting that cross-shot as a clear-cut chance, as he didn't mean to put the ball where it ended. Somehow escaped an ankle injury that looked horrid when it happened.
4 - Hakimi: Contributed something on offense but that was more the consequence of OM's low-block approach than Hakimi's own efforts. Didn't have a single remarkable action going forward while he didn't screw up at the back either, so it kinda balances out the overall outcome.
4 - Danilo: I have seen a lot of criticism thrown his why. Nonsense. He got back to man the pivot when he's clearly one to play at the center of the backline every time he's available, sending Ramos to the bench. Yes, he left Malinovskyi alone in the second goal of OM but he went to cover the goal line expecting a shot. Verratti did something similar (even more egregious, as he already saw Danilo close to the goal) but no one is talking about him. Hhmmmm...
(Sub) 4- Zaire-Emery: Nothing remarkable but he showed up and was brave enough. Ultimately didn't really factor that much into the whole affair with the likes of Neymar and Lionel Messi passing the ball around and getting sought by their teammates instead of the youngster and the rest of the players on the pitch. If Galtier thinks Fabian Ruiz is doing enough to play 90 minutes then WZE should be playing 150 per game at the very least when comparing their contributions to the team...
3 - Verratti: A whole bunch of cardio without much positive impact on the game. Happens when you have been out for a while and have to connect two evenly split halves of a team that is completely broken in half and separated by acres of grass on the pitch. Cool, calm, collected, but that was it. Dried of fanciness and ideas, that's not the regista PSG have come to know.
(Sub) 1 - Soler: Gets 15 minutes of play so he gets the grade. Goddam, son. Worse than Galtier himself! Probably preferred Pablo Sarabia to him in his current form, but you can't have it all, right Luis Campos?
2 - Vitinha: Did Vitinha play? I know the one on Marseille's side did because he entered the pitch at the final moments of the game when we all had our faces stuck to the screen trying to boost the team in their pursuit of a miracle. But Vitinha, the PSG midfielder? That man surely didn't show up. Perhaps not because of his own woes entirely, though he should know better. Galtier keeps playing Vitinha far from Verratti (the only player that helps him function) and as a no. 10, which makes little to no sense as the 4-4-2 diamond turns into a 4-3-2 triangle considering the opponent always finds a way to wipe him from the pitch entirely and render him invisible.
(Sub) 2 - Ekitike: There is a chance Hugo ends up fulfilling his potential and becoming an interesting player. For now, though, he's just a couple of "bright" moments lost in the middle of a whole bunch of bad decisions and missed opportunities. He is physically imposing and that helped him gain some balls and complete some hustling plays, but he just goes overboard with the fancy tricks and never quite pulls off the rounded, steady appearance through large periods of a game. Flashes without any real impact. If this is the backup for Kylian Mbappe in the striker position then Luis Campos and Galtier have a very serious explanation to make...
2 - Ruiz: Somehow stayed on the pitch for the whole freaking game. Danilo was subbed off. Verratti left the pitch. Vitinha, as bad a game as he had, might have merited staying in more than Ruiz. Just imagine!
4 - Messi: At least we know that whenever Messi retires for good he will have a bright future coaching and teaching cardio to the pupils that enroll in his classes! Walked a bunch, had a couple of fantastic touches, fooled the referee into believing his shot was deflected into a corner kick that ended in a Sergio Ramos goal, and nearly assisted Ramos for the game-tying score on the final play of the game. It was absolutely disgusting to watch him not move a single bone through the first 30 minutes of OM total dominance, let alone pass the ball laterally for minutes on end at the final stretch of the game. Messi is turning into Old Cristiano Redux, and that's very, very worrying.
4 - Neymar: Hard game for Ney, who got more and more frustrated as the minutes kept passing. Started nicely, had a good first half, and even shot one to the post that was just two centimeters from bouncing off it and in instead of out. Shit happens. He was the best offensive player on PSG's side but just couldn't find paydirt on a night to forget. Better days ahead for Ney, assuming he can regain his first-half form.