Zlatan Ibrahimovic Sets the Stage for Teammates (Valencia vs PSG)

Do PSG have something to worry about heading into the second leg? A 2-1 away win should be quite reassuring, but the moment Zlatan Ibrahimovic left the Mestalla for a red card meant it’s not going to be that easy in Paris for the second leg against Valencia, but it’ll also be a chance for some players to prove their worth.

Ibrahimovic got sent off because of his reputation, not because of the fouls he committed on Daniel Parejo and Andres Guardado. He didn’t score any goals, but was, as always, essential to everything PSG did. His ability to draw two defenders to him and still gain control of almost every long ball sent to his vicinity frees up so much space for others players. Lucas Moura looks like a Bingo purchase, even if it is only one of his first matches, and he was purchased for a huge fee of €40 million. Unlike Oscar at Chelsea, he doesn’t look like a fish out of the water.

The next match will be a test for this team on how to play without Zlatan. Valencia try to attack home & away, which means PSG can’t expect to find a team waiting to score on counter attacks. Maybe not as aggressive with their intentions as they were at the Mestalla, but not far from it. It once again will be up to the very good defending, possibly this time with Thiago Silva, who left the job to Alex and Sakho, who did a good job along with Blaise Matuidi and the improving Marco Verratti.

As for Ibrahimovic, this is just a clip on the wing, nothing more, unless UEFA decide to punish him severely for getting a direct red card, although I don’t think that’s warranted in this case. He did play a bit too strong in that moment, but there was plenty of diving and falling around by the Valencia players.

It didn’t take him long, but it did take a lot of money – Leonardo built himself a serious team in Paris – disciplined and even relatively cohesive, considering the rotation going on in the lineup, from the defense, to the midfield and across the pitch except for the untouchable Zlatan Ibrahimovic. If they don’t go wild in the summer trying to buy everything the market offers but stick to simply strengthening specific positions, we’re going to see this side reach plenty of Champions League quarterfinals, and more.

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