PSG – Not the Start Everyone Expected

Two matches into the 2012-2013 Ligue 1 season, Paris Saint-Germain are undefeated, but still win-less, finishing their visit to Ajaccio in a 0-0 draw while losing both Ezequiel Lavezzi (after a two footed challenge) and Carlo Ancelotti to red cards in another disappointing outing.

There’s no magic in the world, and even with all the quality and expensive players, a team can’t just come together out of nothing. If last season it seemed to be working before Ancelotti took over the ship and more players joined during the January transfer window, the influx of stars didn’t stop this summer and Ancelotti had to continue building something new. So far, it’s cost him four points in a league he’s supposed to easily win.

Without Zlatan Ibrahimovic (out because of a foot injury), Ancelotti changed his formation to a front four, with Lavezzi, Pastore, Menez and Nene. Except for Pastore, nothing really worked, and PSG managed only 7 attempts on the Ajaccio goal, in a stadium they’ve failed to win at for six consecutive times now. The defense, with the same foursome (but a change at goal) of Alex, Maxwell, Sakho and Jallet did look much better this time.

One thing Ancelotti will struggle with is his huge squad and keeping players happy. Having a rotation without clear hierarchy is always a bad recipe for success, and after starting Verratti, Bodmer and Chantome in the opening match, Ancelotti went with the duo of Chantome and Matuidi to start this match, which gave him a lot of problems in the middle of the pitch even before the sending off of Lavezzi.

Conclusion? This season won’t be as easy as initially thought. Lyon are the same team they were last season, and that should be helpful for them in the changing landscape, while teams like Marseille keep getting weaker and Montpellier are unlikely to make another challenge for the title. PSG are still the favorites to win this title, but it’s going to be harder than what the ‘on-paper’ predictions suggested, and will require a better job from Carlo Ancelotti than he’s done so far, especially with the Champions League just around the corner.

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