Monaco’s 4-0 loss at home to Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday displayed the alarming hallmarks of a lopsided league where beaten teams seem both helpless against and utterly in awe of PSG.
It was a poor advertisement for the French league and did nothing to change the perception that PSG will win the title with ease, and perhaps without losing a game, such is the club’s level of domestic dominance.
Worse still, in terms of image for Ligue 1, was a Monaco player laughing with Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe as they walked off at halftime. His team was trailing 2-0 at the time.
Then, PSG stars Neymar and Mbappe shared a joke and smiled broadly as they came back out for the second half.
After the final whistle, Monaco coach Thierry Henry was seen on television exchanging pleasantries with PSG’s president in the stadium corridor, his defeated players waiting in the dressing room.
Henry’s Monaco lineup is winless in 16 games overall — sixth of those since he took charge — and languishing in 19th spot level on points with last-placed Guingamp. By contrast, PSG has won 13 of 13 league games and scored 45 goals for only seven conceded.
“It’s easy to say it was easy,” PSG striker Edinson Cavani said after scoring a hat trick. “But Monaco’s not in a good period.”
Cavani, who is known for his work ethic and for being unselfish, was clearly being diplomatic. This win was easy, particularly since PSG had two other goals ruled out, and the glaring evidence is that the league’s other teams are resigned to defeat when up against PSG.
But this ultimately works against PSG in Europe, where the club continues to struggle in the Champions League and is facing elimination from the group stage after failing to beat either Napoli — twice — or last season’s runner-up Liverpool. With two games left, PSG has five points from four games and is third in the group.
Odd then, that Neymar should dance so gleefully in front of PSG’s fans after netting the fourth goal Sunday from the penalty spot against a Monaco lineup riddled with injuries and featuring five players aged 19 or under.
It appeared somewhat brazen too, that coach Thomas Tuchel should be smiling and whispering to a grinning assistant coach as they walked off the pitch at the final whistle with hands cupped over their mouths to prevent lip reading.
Tuchel needs to be careful not to lose track of what he has set out to do at PSG, which is bringing a greater intensity to his team. At times, this was absent against Monaco when the goals came largely through poor defending rather than exceptional PSG teamwork.
“We showed our hunger for a 13th win,” Tuchel said. “But I’m not satisfied with the intensity, the structure of the team, the quality of our play.”
Despite saying this, Tuchel did not intervene to stop Neymar and Mbappe appearing too casual as they often sought to pick each other out with passes at the expense of their teammates.
“We didn’t play very well,” PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe said on Canal Plus television. Perhaps Kimpembe’s teammates should take it on board.
After the international break, PSG faces 15th-placed Toulouse, a team which has among the worst attacking and defensive records in the league. Four days later, it’s a far taller order as PSG faces Liverpool in a match which could decide PSG’s Champions League fate.
Source: The Associated Press