PSG 0-1 Bayern Munich: Individual grades of the Paris Saint-Germain players
Paris Saint-Germain hosted Bayern Munich in the return of the Champions League to the Parc des Princes on Tuesday and lost 0-1 to the German giants. It was the third loss in a row for PSG, something that had not happened to the Paris club since 2011 when they were barely starting their QSI-led era.
No number of issues, no matter how big or large that is, will ever be enough for Christophe Galtier or PSG as a whole to excuse themselves from such a putrid outing as the one witnessed the world over on Saturday. Julian Nagelsmann must be sipping tea this morning while rejoicing and licking his chops ahead of Tuesday's massive UCL showdown.
Here are the grades from our Parisian men after they lost their fifth game of the 2023 calendar year and third straight match as they fell to Bayern Munich and face a very tough assignment on March 8th having to come from behind to qualify for the last-eight round of the Champions League.
4 - Donnarumma: The Italy international put on a solid game overall but the error on Kingsley Coman's goal was hardly acceptable. He let the ball slip behind his body dropping late to the ground and not quite getting to block it. He stopped a bunch of shots throughout the whole game saving PSG from utter disgrace, though, so that almost saved his grade--not entirely.
3 - Hakimi: Looked tired and never grasped what Coman was doing with him, constantly overcame by the situation. Left the game at the break in a clear sign of how he forced the issue to help PSG, though he never boosted his team chances at getting a possitive result that much at any point.
(Sub) 5 - Kimpembe: Not a default grade as he logged a full 45 minutes, but you can't really pinpoint anything remarkably good or bad about his performance and it's not that the gameplan or the demands of the game in terms of challenges posed to him by Bayern helped him earn a higher (or lower, for that matter) grade. Good to see him perform on the left side of the three-man line getting as wide as to the touchline at times without experiencing any trouble.
Christophe Galtier decided to use an 8-0-2 formation so nobody could showcase their talents
5 - Marquinhos: As was the case for most players on defensive roles yesterday, the game just came to all of them and allowed them all to have good/average/default performances without much trouble without facing plays that might have put them at the peril of committing terrible errors. Good outing, but not as decisive and stout as Ramos' although he was in lower demand so he didn't have as many chances to stop Bayern's attackers as the Spaniard.
7 - Ramos: The game surely suited the veteran as PSG sat deep and he never had to track any opponent on running plans nor sprint back in pursuit of any forward. He waited for his moments, keep the line alert, attempted and completed the tackles that needed to be made at the right times, and had the most solid performance among PSG players on the backline.
6 - Nuno Mendes: One of the top performers on PSG. Can't give him a higher grade because VAR denied him an assist but he showcased his talents once again when Galtier finally allowed him to and released him so he could gallop forward. Musiala danced around him so badly once, though, which was more about the talents of the German forward than the lack of defensive chops on Mendes' skill set.
7 - Danilo: Defensive midfielder role for the Portuguese against Bayern Munich and one at which he excelled once more. What a surprise! Danilo won't give you the killer assist, but he knows where to pass the ball to, always find the open man, breaks opponent's attacks with great marking and tackling, and always delivers. Excellent in a game that also suited his skills.
(Sub) 3 - Vitinha: Nothing remarkable from the sub, although he arrived in the phase of the game that should have fitted him the most. Lackluster as ever, Vitinha surely has gone down in performing levels through the post-World Cup span.
4 - Verratti: See, the problem with Verratti yesterday is that while you can really say he had an atrocious game, it is also true that he didn't really do anything to help PSG going forward and creating from the deep midfield position which he is expected to be supreme in. Galtier's game plan probably killed all of the upside in Verratti's game, yes, but even then he lacked the magic touch we all know he holds into his little body and that lowers his grade. Should step up two or five levels in high-stakes games like Tuesday's.
4 - Zaire-Emery: I guess becoming the youngest player to ever start a Champions League game speaks for itself about the talents of this kid. He has been quoted saying that he prefers to play in deeper positions instead of making runs forward, but you can say that is what happen yesterday as he was deployed there but Galtier's use of him was as a mere defensive pawn in an eight-defender lineup. Lost some balls, and missed some passes. Growing pains.
(Sub) 4 - Ruiz: Nothing incredible from Ruiz, although he came into the pitch hyperactive and brought some liveliness to the squad. A lot of time between now and the second leg, but he's in the pole position to appear in the starting XI in replacement for Soler/WZE the next time PSG and Bayern meet in Munich.
3 - Soler: Did what he was asked to do, which sucks and lowers his grade as the overall perception wasn't great but at the end of the day he at least accomplished his goals. That said, Soler is a mid-to-forward player, and watching him so limited in terms of his play, basically focusing on pressing and defense without caring a lot about offense after transitioning to that phase wasn't good at all.
(Sub) 7 - Mbappe: As good as he was in scoring two ruled-off goals, he did more in spirit than in actual actions. He had a good game, but that was more a consequence of the rest of the team having done absolutely nothing for 60 minutes before flipping their collective switch on than anything else. It's great to know that just his mere presence on the pitch raises up the levels of confidence of all of his teammates. He's got the magic wand and was saved a goal off Yann Sommer's face that could (should?) have ended kissing the net. He wanted that win (or draw, at least) as much as anyone donning Parisian threads on Tuesday, but playing on the forward line he couldn't do more to carry his team higher up the pitch than what he already did.
1 - Messi: If this is the version of Messi that will pop up weekly in Paris, then it is very clear what PSG should do with his contract once it runs out next June. Let the little Argentine fly back to Barcelona, go to the USA, or join Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia. Pay for the trip. Pack his bags. Whatever it takes to get rid of this leech. The effort he put on for the full 90 minutes can be summed up in two plays: a free-kick in front of the area to close the first half and a run on the right flank leading up to a red-card tackle by Benjamin Pavard. Looking at him stay put and stand still on the pitch when all the other players (yes, even Neymar) try to at least apply some pressure on the opposition buildup makes you want to vomit. Dreadful. Makes it feel like PSG is constantly playing a 10 vs. 11 game with his awful overall play.
3 - Neymar: Not the brightest night for the Brazil international on #NeyDay, but what can he do? He was isolated up front but that was a problem of Galtier's own making as the coach decided to build an eight-man low block to go with two forwards (Neymar and Messi) up front, both totally disconnected from their teammates. He applied some pressure at times and chased the ball trying (or making it look like it) to recover it, at least forcing Bayern players to pass it around. Far from decisive in the final third, although it is not that he wasted tons and tons of chances as he barely had them. He said before the game that he felt great in terms of his current form, but if he thinks this is his best version then that surely is a reason for concern.