Like an actor who forgets his lines. Without Ousmane Dembélé, PSG looked lost on the pitch at the Parc des Princes on Saturday, playing an aphonic score, in a form of footballing desert. Deprived of his right winger, suspended on Wednesday against Dortmund in the Champions League, Luis Enrique wanted to prepare for the next match by using the current one, a bad idea for a sad result against Nantes. The coach recently said that the former Barcelona man directly or indirectly created 70% of Paris' goals and if we didn't necessarily believe him, the absence of the 2018 world champion proved him right. It's when they are missing that the great players are also the talk of the town.
Instead, the Spanish coach preferred midfielders rather than strikers, with similar profiles, claiming the ball at their feet. To replace Ousmane Dembélé, who finally came on in the 67th minute, he could have started Randal Kolo Muani for example but he fielded Kang-In Lee, in addition to Manuel Ugarte, Vitinha and Carlos Soler. As if possession was superior to creativity and the need to vary the game, for example by giving it depth. With Kylian Mbappé once again installed in the middle and reduced to a Gonçalo Ramos-like role that does not suit him, only Bradley Barcola could bring a little madness to this static and purring team. And it was on a feat by the ex-Lyon player, who started on the left side, that a light appeared, a return of sound in this quiet game like a return to speech after forty minutes of silence (1-0, 40′).
Randal Kolo Muani, sober as he celebrates his goal
Shortly after Dortmund lost at home to RB Leipzig (2-3), PSG also did not indicate that they were preparing for Wednesday's final for first place in the group or at least qualification for the round of 8 of the Champions League. And he knows it because he has judged it on the spot: without Ousmane Dembélé, it will be even harder, especially if an antagonistic profile takes his place. Randal Kolo Muani ended up coming on for only eleven minutes, a misery. Marco Asensio as well.
Paris will finish the match with more percussion, relays and width in their play, like the promise of another match that we would have liked to have seen earlier. As luck would have it, his second goal came after a free-kick and with the presence of strikers in the box after a header from Lucas Hernandez was saved: in this case the former Nantes player, sober as he should be when celebrating his goal. On the left of the attack, he even delivered a caviar for Marco Asensio, aiming too big, too high.
If Paris finally had to decide to attack and play a football match, it was because their poor first half had been followed by a painful start to the second half, marked by Mostafa Mohamed's equalizer following a phantom corner. In the end, all's well which ends well with an 8th win in a row in Ligue 1 and no injuries before the C1 while Warren Zaïre-Emery played thirty minutes again. Ten or fifteen good minutes were enough for PSG to win the Championship of France. In the Champions League, such a cost will not achieve the desired goal.