We left the Parisians one evening in March 2022, eyes haggard, head buried in the lawn of Santiago Bernabeu after yet another interplanetary crack in the Champions League. Six months later, when the new cuvée of C1 opens this Tuesday for PSG at the Parc des Princes, against Juve, almost everything has changed. Mauricio Pochettino took his big check and his tactical notebooks for Dummies under his arm and left the capital club, and with him a good part of the lofters who left to haunt other distant lands.
Instead, Christophe Galtier put his buttocks on the bench, installed a clear pattern of play and revived a drifting club. However, even if everything seems to be going well at the start of the season and PSG sticks beating after beating to its sparring partners in the Talent League – with the exception of Monaco, which hooked Paris ten days ago – it remains a question called Marquinhos. Author of the pass that kills Benzema last season, the Parisian captain has even become the number 1 target of Parisian followers (journalists and Twittos lambda) on Twitter this season. To read them, the soul of the Brazilian would have remained in Madrid, at the same time as the insurance of Donnarumma.
A restrained Marquinhos
As always, the words of these tacticians should be tempered in 140 characters. Since the start of the season, even though PSG have not yet faced the big cars of the championship, they are still the second best defense in Ligue 1 with four goals conceded behind OM (3) in six meetings. But this figure also comes up against others, less glorious for the Parisian rearguard, such as these 11 chances and these 14 shots conceded against the promoted Toulousain, last week, at the Stadium. And of the three indestructible of the new three-way defense made in Galette, it is perhaps he who seems the least comfortable since the start of the season.
Less sharp in the duels, a sometimes hazardous depth management, a few off-time outings on the ball carrier, Marquinhos appears for the moment far from his usual standards. An observation that does not necessarily share Eric Rabésandratana, the former midfielder of PSG today consultant at the microphone of France Bleu Paris. “As a whole the work of this three-man defense, I find that it articulates quite a bit, I don’t necessarily find it in difficulty compared to the other two. Afterwards, it’s a new system, there are automatisms to find, relationships to create, but I think that all that will be put in place little by little. »
Another former Parisian, another France Bleu Paris consultant and another opinion, that of Tripy Makonda. “It’s true that this is a subject that poses a bit of a problem for me, I find it delicate at the moment,” he admits. We feel that he is in difficulty, which is complicated for someone who always plays in anticipation, it is that it is a dangerous game, it passes or it breaks. And right now, he, you feel that he is in restraint. We saw it on the goal they take against Monaco, when he goes out on Golovine, he goes out but in the end he does it halfway and he still leaves a meter to the Monegasque. »
A dual role to be understood
Accustomed since his arrival at the club in 2011 to play in a four-man defense, and surrounded for many years by “Ô Monstro” Thiago Silva (which helps a lot to feel comfortable) Marquinhos had to change his software this summer with the arrival of Christophe Galtier and the establishment of a hinge with three central defenders. If he could happen to play three behind under Tuchel, it is in no way comparable with what the new Parisian coach asks of him, explains Tripy Makonda.
“With Tuchel, it was a 4-3-3 where he inserted the defensive line when Paris didn’t have the ball, but most of the time he played 6. This year, in the 3-4-3 or the 3 -4-1-2 from Galtier, Marquinhos has a very different role, a double role even. He must first defend in the defense with three surrounded by Ramos and Kimpembe and then participate in the development of the exit of the ball, it is not the same thing in terms of taking information, details the former Parisian converted to training. Placed in the axis, he is the most exposed man due to his central position and his dual role. Even if Ramos’ start to the season is interesting, he doesn’t make the same efforts as Marquinhos in terms of bursting with energy, kilometers covered, it has nothing to do with it. »
A first big test in C1 which is timely
This is for him the most obvious explanation for this dotted start to the season. “This energy expenditure, going into the midfield, sometimes going out of the way, carrying the ball to gain ground, and at the same time playing his role as a central defender who must close the gaps and coordinate the defensive organization , makes him lose a bit of lucidity in his decision-making, ”he analyzes. After the match at the Stadium, without targeting anyone, Christophe Galtier readily conceded that his team had progress to make after losing the ball: “We decide to play high and that sometimes gives our opponents some flaws. We’re working on it to fix that.”
“There are a lot of spaces (in the back of the defense), rebounded Mukiele last Wednesday in Toulouse. In this system, it’s not that easy. We will work on the video in training. It’s better that it happens now. We have very intelligent players, we will correct that. “Facing Nantes on Saturday, the Parisian defense has already seemed more concentrated and Marquinhos more biting than in recent weeks, evidenced by his. This first big test against Juve should allow us to see if the trade returns, even if the Turinese are still very far from the top European level.