Not all is fun and games at the PSG. Already, the pressure is on Unai Emery after a very suspect showing by Unai Emery’s men against Bruno Genesio’s Olympique Lyonnais at Le Parc des Princes. PSG won 2-0 but both goals were own goals that came off deflections by Marcelo and Jeremy Morel. Paris’s attack was slow and not quick enough to anticipate Lyon’s backline, whose brilliant defending was offset by improper positioning on defense.
But more importantly was an unnecessary power struggle between Edinson Cavani and Neymar Jr. regarding penalty taking, with Dani Alves instigating. Cavani ended up missing the penalty nonetheless, but the audacious decision by the two newly acquired Brazilians to not respect seniority and tenure is not a good sign moving forward as the season progresses and could factor into their first defeat of the year, whenever that takes place.
The times are changing, and the essence of team over individual is important. In Paris, Kylian Mbappe is the prince, Edinson Cavani is the knight…and Neymar is the king. (At least, this is how this author sees it.) As seen in his conversion in the Olympic gold medal game at Rio 2016, Neymar is an adept penalty taker but his leadership and vision means that Cavani needs to turn the reigns over and assume his role as the knight of the royal house of Parisian club football, based at the world-famed Le Parc des Princes.
As for the chief tactician, Emery himself, he must make a decision regarding the delegation of free kicks and penalties and allow the team to come to a unanimous decision as to who gets to do what. It is not easy to handle a bunch of chiefs and convert them to one chief and a supporting band of indian braves that provide resourceful direction.
The win over Lyon is, therefore, a match with lessons that must be learned. Who should take spot kicks? Who takes set pieces from corners? Or set pieces from distance. Most importantly, will those designations be respected for the good of the team and the city they represent, the main metropole, the nerve center of the great French Republic? Or will discord and greed and a lack of humility destroy this brand, the aftermath too painful for the world to watch, unless you happen to support a certain Football Club Barcelona?
Somebody pass the popcorn.