It’s hard to say that Paris Saint-Germain will have a better 2015-16 season than they did last year, considering the French giants won the Ligue 1 title, Coupe de France, Coupe de Ligue and the Trophee des Champions. However, where PSG could very well improve at during the upcoming campaign is in the Champions League.
While they stunned Chelsea during the round of 16 in Champions League play last season, the Parisians were thrashed by the eventual champions, Barcelona 5-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals.
Following the 2-0 defeat to Barcelona, which officially knocked PSG out of the competition, superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic claimed that he wasn’t surprised that his club were beaten. “You have to be realistic, they were better than us,” said Ibrahimovic. “They were the better team and deserved to win. Actually, they’ll probably win the Champions League.” Zlatan’s prediction came true, as Barcelona won the Champions League title in May.
“As for us, it’s not possible to achieve that goal in such a short space of time,” the Sweden international continued. “We have taken some big steps and been knocked out by a superb team. There’s no need to lie or hide the truth. That’s just the reality.”
Although Barcelona was clearly the better team back in April, PSG has reloaded this summer (again) and could be a thorn in the side against any club in the world. Along with Angel Di Maria’s €63 million move to Paris, the team has also brought in versatile midfielder and defender Benjamin Stambouli and goalkeeper Kevin Trapp.
While the Stambouli and Trapp deals aren’t exactly “massive” acquisitions, they do provide solid cover for the starting XI. Attackers Ibrahimovic, Di Maria, Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Lucas and Javier Pastore receive much of the attention, and rightly so, but the combination of Blaise Matuidi and Marco Verratti in the middle of the park is extremely special. The Matuidi and Verratti duo is among the best central midfield partnership in the world.
The biggest issue with PSG making a run in the Champions League could quite possibly be the uncertain future of Ibrahimovic. Zlatan has recently claimed that he may have played his last match for PSG, with Arsenal, Manchester United and AC Milan all said to be interested in the player, however, PSG’s president has declared that the 33-year-old will remain with the club.
With the reigning French champions overwhelming picks to retain the Ligue 1 title, PSG need to make a serious run in the Champions League if they wish to have a “successful” season. The quality is certainly there for the Parisians, they just have to stay healthy, put it all together, and be consistent through the European tournament.