Champions League

UCL: Unai Emery Era At PSG At A Crossroads

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 08: Unai Emery head coach of PSG looks dejected as Sergi Roberto of Barcelona scores their sixth goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain at Camp Nou on March 8, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
UCL: Unai Emery Era At PSG At A Crossroads

Last year, Kevin De Bruyne literally put Laurent Blanc out of work at the Paris Saint-Germain Football Club. This year, FC Barcelona midfielder Sergi Roberto, of all people, may have done the same thing to manager Unai Emery, who is not even a year into his tenure as manager at PSG. A stretch kick in the fifth minute of second half stoppage time gave Luis Enrique’s men a 6-1 rout and a 6-5 aggregate victory, a historic result that has immediate ramifications on the future of Emery as manager.

Last year, Paris exited the tournament at the quarterfinals. This year, the Parisians don’t even make the quarterfinals and their results against Chamois Niortais and AS Nancy Lorraine prior to this contest were a sign that things are not very rosy at the club.

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Paris Saint-Germain has struggled to find its offensive rhythm without Zlatan Ibrahimovic and has proven to be capable of getting blown apart by five goals in matches. Without Zlatan, PSG lose their identity and who they really are. Without Ibrahimovic, PSG are, for all intents and purposes, overrated rubbish. Despite the individual scoring form in Edinson Cavani, this team does not have the type of form to defend its domestic trophies with long stretches of wins and owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi is paying the price for his incredulous, selfish decision to release a manager that had given the club relative stability, results, and most importantly, trophies in Laurent Blanc.

 

It is an absurd, costly decision that has resulted in the team taking a massive step back by being eliminated in the Round of 16 with a the highest amount of goals conceded in a match this year. All that Emery has won, so far, is the International Champions Cup and the Trophee des Champions and that’s it. It is a very real possibility that this will be all Emery gets that could lead to his termination at the club, a deserved termination given the high expectations associated with managing this team. The only positive that can be taken from this is that it allows the club to double down on its efforts to take its frustrations out on the remaining teams on its schedule.

 

Paris’s next opponent is FC Lorient, and we are going to live blog this match as the undercard to our featured match, Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy on Mar. 12. It will be important to see how Paris responds to one of its worst defensive performances of the season because the relegation-threatened Merlus have reason to believe they can pull off a similar shock result at the Moustoir, and maybe even a similar margin. Lorient-Paris is scheduled for 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET while Portland-LA kicks off at 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET from StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

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@joryansalazar

Jo-Ryan Salazar is a writer for The Stoppage Time, a soccer blog powered by Azteca Soccer. A supporter of the Los Angeles Galaxy since 1996 and a committed supporter since 2002, Jo-Ryan also follows Chelsea FC, Melbourne Victory, FC Tokyo and Paris Saint-Germain. Apart from soccer, Jo-Ryan is an administrative assistant for a local nonprofit in Long Beach, California and also does photography, photo-editing and fictional writing.

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