Paris (AFP) – Idrissa Gueye has earned rave reviews for his standout performance in Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League win over Real Madrid in midweek and the midfielder looks to be exactly what they have been sadly lacking in recent seasons.
The Senegal international joined PSG in the summer from Everton for a reported 32 million euros ($35.3 million) in a deal that may not have set pulses racing in Paris.
However, the 29-year-old’s combative, all-action style gives his team a balance in midfield which they have lacked since the departures of Blaise Matuidi and Thiago Motta in the last two years.
Gueye harassed and pressed the Real midfield all evening at the Parc des Princes, constantly won balls back and set up Angel Di Maria’s second goal in a convincing 3-0 victory.
“We fought to bring him to the club. He is a machine. He never stops running, he recovered so many balls for us and against a team like Real that is super important,” said his coach, Thomas Tuchel.
PSG veered towards a model based around individual stars when they signed Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for the two biggest transfer fees in history in 2017, but those two were not even on the field in midweek.
The Brazilian was suspended and will be back for Sunday’s trip to Lyon, which has been PSG’s toughest domestic fixture in recent seasons.
They have lost in Lyon in both of the last two seasons but will be hopeful of coming out on top, even if it remains to be seen if either Mbappe of Edinson Cavani will be fit.
While PSG have not entirely convinced in the league, they ended last weekend two points clear at the top of the table.
Lyon, meanwhile, won their opening two games of the season under new coach Sylvinho but have picked up just two points in three games since.
They also drew their opening Champions League game, with Memphis Depay scoring a penalty in a 1-1 home draw against Zenit.
One to watch: Leonardo Jardim
Could Monaco’s Portuguese coach be close to the sack at the principality club for the second time in 12 months?
It has been another terrible start to the season at the Stade Louis II and Jardim is under increasing pressure after last week’s 4-3 home defeat against Marseille left them with just two points and in the relegation zone.
Fans are unhappy, but Jardim insists he still needs time to gel together a new team after a massive summer turnover of players.