PSG enjoyed a thrilling win in Tel Aviv at the expense of Nantes. The Parisians were the dominant force in a 4-0 win over the Loire side, who came into the French Super Cup as Coupe de France champions.
It didn’t do them much good to hold that title… because Messi, Neymar and Sergio Ramos gave ‘Les Canaris’ a good hiding.
After a pre-season full of victories, the ‘Galtier method’ is working despite the fact that the French coach has had to change things in his own script to adapt to the cast of stars in the French capital.
If the pre-season had not been very demanding in terms of opponents, the first match against a Ligue 1 team has been passed with flying colours, even though they were without Kylian Mbappe through suspension.
From 4-4-2 to 3-4-1-2
If Christophe Galtier had been characterised by a fairly strict 4-4-2 in his previous jobs, then the job in Paris has made him change.
The system deployed at the start of the season is an attacking 3-4-1-2 where the wingers play a key role and the midfield plays a vertical and daring style of football.
The three centre-backs create a safety net that allows Galtier to give the flanks to Nuno Mendes and Achraf Hakimi, as well as leaving two ‘ball-players’ like Vitinha and Marco Verratti in midfield. The two have hit it off, and that’s good for PSG.
Messi has been given freedom
The best news for PSG is the improvement in the adaptation of Lionel Messi. With the idea of staying together beyond 2023 on the table, the Argentine has returned from holiday with the aim of meeting the challenges he failed to achieve last season.
Galtier has provided him with a system that allows him to roam freely in the opposition half. He drops deeper to receive and create play, drops to the right flank to initiate diagonals towards the opposition box and plays one-twos with Neymar and Mbappe with complete ease.
In these first few games we have seen a comfortable Messi, smiling at the ball in every play and dribbling past opponents with astonishing ease.
High pressure and constant siege
If there was one thing that stood out about PSG in their opening game, it was the intensity with which they overwhelmed Nantes. If Antoine Kombouar‘s side offered little opposition, it was because they never matched the pace of Galtier’s team.
The capital side never stopped attacking and only Lafont prevented an even bigger scoreline. As well as exploiting the spaces left by the Nantes defence, PSG also created them by pressing high up the pitch.
Watch out for Sergio Ramos…
The player from Camas seems to have left behind the terrible season of 2021/22. With only 13 appearances, last season was not his best year, but he is working from a clean slate this term.
The centre-back has started the season in France as both a starter and a goalscorer. Beyond the goal, he had a good game on the right of the Parisian defence, where he had the difficult task of covering the back of Hakimi, who is usually a torpedo in attack and lives in the opposition half.
He looks confident, in good shape and eager to make up for lost time. In addition, Marquinhos complements him well whilst Presnel Kimpembe brings the physical exuberance that characterises the best young defenders that are impressing across Europe.