Real Madrid vs PSG – UEFA Champions League:Real Madrid and PSG face off again on the group stage of the Champions League
This time in Spain, after we saw PSG’s superiority on their first encounter, despite having the handicap of playing without their main 3 players: Mbappé, Neymar and Cavani, all of them attacking references.
Real Madrid didn’t get off to a good start on the season at all, and I’m not saying this only because of their results, since the team conceded 2 draws on the first 4 league matches,
and they were also unable to win on the first two encounters of the Champions League, but also due to their play, that was already being pretty bad during the pre-season and was visible on the official matches where the team couldn’t elevate the level, due to several reasons.
This clear crisis that Real Madrid is going through is mostly due to the team’s physical form, which can be considered normal.
Real Madrid was coming off a completely scary streak of seasons, with the club winning 4 Champions League titles in 5 years and a lot of two-legged Spanish cup ties, as well as a lot of matches in La Liga and the Club World Cup. And during all of that, many players still played important matches for their national teams, with those being high pressure encounters between qualifiers and final stages.
Klopp, that won the Champions League last season with Liverpool, complained that more attention should be paid to the schedule, for the good of the players, and he gave the example of Mané that only had 2 weeks of rest.
Well, Real Madrid has won 3 consecutive Champions League’s titles, and considering this logic, a lot of Real Madrid’s players had only 6 weeks to rest in 3 years.
It is obvious that Real Madrid’s midfield blew up and that essential pieces of those accomplishments have broken down physically.
The main player of their midfield Luka Modric has been going through countless physical problems after having reached the final of the World Cup against Croatia, which earned him a Ballon D’Or, but after that individual award, Modric was never able to present the same level in his game.
Toni Kroos has also been dropping in terms of form, both physically and in terms of his performances.
It is not randomly that Zidane left Real Madrid. The manager himself accused this physical and mental fatigue that the job caused him. However, there are other aspects to take into consideration.
The huge spree of injuries the team has been struggling with in this past couple of years has been taking a toll on the players, and this season Real Madrid has already had several absences due to injury, even players that they signed only recently such as Mendy (who came to offer some competition to Marcelo that has been dealing with physical problems), or Hazard (who came to fill the hole left by Ronaldo’s departure).
Ronaldo’s departure left a huge gap at the club, since he was a very important player on every aspect, but the number of goals he scored clearly stand out.
Still, Real Madrid continues to play with 11 players, and I believe that the physical aspects are more determinant.
That means, if Real Madrid wants to revert the situation and find the best physical form of their players, they might win some titles again, even if they are unlikely.
Therefore, a bettor knows what it really means for a club to conquer 3 consecutive Champions League’s titles and not only that, the president of the club has been saying precisely that in every assembly, saying that they are “forced to conquer the impossible”, and a lot of managers also turned down Real Madrid after Zidane’s departure because of that, because in fact who wants to manage a team that conquered everything they’ve conquered?
The normal would be the least season being destined to failure, and it was, although it was also a timeframe that impaired not one but two managers.
Following this train of thought, it would be predictable to choose the player that would be standing out in a near future: Benzema, curiously the only one that is no longer playing for his national team anymore and that therefore has more time to recover than the rest of the squad.
The result is visible: Benzema isn’t scoring more because Ronaldo left, but he stands out from the rest because he is doing better physically and this year, he already has 10 goals scored in the league, being the top goalscorer so far.
The question is if this problem couldn’t have been anticipated. And it probably even was. Real Madrid tried to give the roster some younger players, with potential to help the team.
That means, players that would accept not being starters. But football can’t be only Nachos. Players like Kovacic, Ceballos and Marcos Llorente wanted to play 40 or 50 matches per season and because of that, they forced their way out of the club, and that was a rough blow for a team that needs to promote rotation.
The big news was Zidane’s return, since he was the only manager with margin to fail, since Real Madrid is a club that has fans that demand to win every year or switch managers.
Due to everything he won as a player, assistant manager and manager, Zidane’s head will be safe, but the targets start being the players, that trust blindly on a manager that continues the legacy of Del Bosque and Ancelotti. With a calm speech, he keeps begging for patience and even if he doesn’t really believe on it, he keeps reinforcing his belief on the roster.
Looking at the big picture, Real Madrid isn’t doing that poorly by now. They are in first place of La Liga with the same points as Barcelona, and they only failed to win on 5 occasions, and if we exclude the first two encounters, the team faltered in 3 matches before playing in the Champions League.
There are certainly specific reasons for those 3 slip-ups, but there is a clear idea that the team felt the pressure of the competition after not winning the first two encounters. After the two victories against Galatasaray, the team has become calmer, but they’ve also improved.
Real Madrid comes into this encounter after an extremely important victory in La Liga, because the encounter against Real Sociedad was a true test and before a Champions League’s encounter.
The way the team started the match practically losing with a childish mistake from the captain Sergio Ramos and mounted the comeback with tranquillity is the proof that the team has been improving in recent years and reassuring the fans.
However, we have to highlight that it was the best match of the season for Modric, that had moments of brilliance reminiscent from the pre-World Cup Modric.
Valverde is a breath of fresh air for Toni Kroos, and more than that, he is a capable player defensively that takes some pressure off Casemiro, and finally Mendy, that is reminiscent of the best version of Marcelo and they were really needing a winger that was capable of playing with both feet and not lose the defensive efficiency.
I also highlight Hazard, who has been looking slimmer and slimmer with every match and that is starting to look closer to Chelsea’s Hazard.
The Bale incident was the worst one, after the circus that the player created with his national flag where it could be read: “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order”.
He might not even have the intention of sending a message to the club, but it is clearly a poor marketing attack from a player that gets paid 17 Million euros per year.
The crowd have already marked their position, having booed the player not only when he came onto the pitch but every time he touched the ball as well. The player stayed calm and showed he is in form, but he needs to score and show some attitude on matches of this level.
PSG continues to develop their great project and although the team has been winning practically every domestic league, it is a project with European motivation.
And this message is clear when the club switched manager on several occasions, despite having won the Ligue 1. Despite that, the team still hasn’t managed to impress on the European level, and therefore they are scared of the departure of their biggest stars.
In fact Neymar was very close to leaving for Barcelona this season and I believe that the only reason he still hasn’t left was the fact that Barcelona hasn’t found a method to pay for him, since they’ve resorted to players as a trade currency several times.
PSG saw those proposals as a sign of weakness, and they’ve kept being stiff on the negotiations.
On that aspect, Real Madrid appears to have stopped being a threat, since the additional problems with the players and the recent injuries meant Real Madrid had to look for the “new Neymar”, banking on the future with Vinicius and Rodrygo, but the team from Madrid seems to also be demanding a short-term big-name signing, and on this aspect, Mbappé seems to be a player that fits that profile of promising youngster that brings insurances in the short term.
PSG don’t lack money, but the threat of the financial fair play hasn’t allowed the team to develop in quicker fashion. A PSG without European competition has no real objectives to fight for.
PSG convinced Mbappé making him believe that PSG’s project was in fact a national project, that in France the big French figure would be a good start to attract players and give the Ligue 1 more visibility.
However, PSG know that to maintain Mbappé a millionaire renewal won’t be enough, and they will have to be superior to teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern.
That’s why matches like this are so important for PSG, even if in terms of the standings there isn’t a lot at stake. The team know that’s the only way they will convince their big star to stay.
On the first encounter, even without their main players, PSG showed they’re in form, and the players were very motivated, even because many of them have an emotional connection with Real Madrid.
Di Maria ended up going out by the rear entrance, since he understood that he wasn’t getting rewarded in the way he deserved, in terms of salary.
Sarabia went through Real Madrid’s youth system and he was never able to prove he deserved a spot at the club, but now that he finally reached a “European giant” he wants to prove his value.
On the other hand we have Icardi’s case, that although isn’t connected directly was always a player that was rumoured to offer competition to Benzema, and that after being in trouble at Inter, found a good solution, and away from Wanda Nara’s controversies has been playing good football and has been giving a lot to the team.
The team ends up always struggling more in the midfield because PSG still lacks a defensive midfielder capable of building plays as Tuchel desires.
Gueye is an excellent player but with very defensive characteristics, Verratti is injured and Marquinhos has been fulfilling that task, but he is still an adapted player that struggles on matches like this.
For this encounter, Herrera is still in doubt and they might lack some control in midfield, although the team gains more speed in progression if they resort to players like Di Maria, that on the first encounter scored 2 goals playing on a more attacking position.
This is the type of match that Real Madrid struggles on.
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Real Madrid vs PSG – Betting Tips: :
Both teams have offensive quality, but they struggle to control the match, and both of them are strong enough to cause trouble to the opposition. With the lack of control, we might have a quicker match in terms of construction and bigger defensive mistakes, with the teams losing their balance and allowing goalscoring chances to the opposition. Due to how important this match is, I expect an encounter with goals, even because Real Madrid aren’t qualified yet, and a loss here might leave everything wide open for the next encounter. On the other hand, if Real Madrid win, they might still be able to reach the first place of the group.
|over 2.5 goals||