Fantasy Football Focus: How PSG Romped to Ligue 1 Glory
Paris Saint-Germain retained their Ligue 1 title on Sunday, eight games before the end of the season, after a crushing 9-0 victory over the division’s bottom club Troyes.
With a Champions League quarter-final place already in the bag, Laurent Blanc’s side can now look forward after an amazing league campaign that has seen PSG lose only once – at Lyon.
PSG’s latest French league title has been on the cards for many weeks, but who were the key players in their success this season?
PSG have attacking riches of which the world’s leading clubs are rightly envious, but defensive leader and captain Thiago Silva has been just as important to their success as the forwards.
Silva is considered one of the top centre-backs in world football and he has been superb once again for Blanc’s men as they romped to a fourth successive league title with ease.
The 31-year-old has been particularly excellent in his seven Champions League appearances, a competition in which he is rated 7.48 by WhoScored for his performances this season.
Perhaps if there is one area Silva could improve in his game it is goalscoring – he has only hit the net once this season – but the defender is not in the PSG team to score goals, he is in the team to stop goals, and there is no question that he does that brilliantly.
Perhaps if PSG had one weakness in which they needed to improve on, it was at full-back, but the arrival of Layvin Kurzawa from Monaco has solved that particular issue perfectly.
Still just 23, Kurzawa already looks to be the outstanding left-back in Ligue 1 and he has grown to be an exceptionally popular fantasy football selection during his short time in the French capital.
It is no wonder Kurzawa has quickly made the PSG left-back slot his own, as he has scored three goals and provided two assists in just 10 Ligue 1 starts.
PSG have often been accused of relying too heavily on experienced players, but the development of Kurzawa has shown the club could have a very bright future from its younger talent too.
While midfield partner Marco Verratti has taken most of the plaudits this season, much of the legwork in the PSG team has been done by Blaise Matuidi.
Never shirking a tackle and rarely wasting a pass, Matuidi has been a whirling dervish in the heart of the PSG team, breaking up opposition moves and launching attacks for his side from his deep-lying midfield role.
Matuidi has been one of the outstanding defensive midfielders in Europe this season and it would be no surprise to see clubs try to prise him away from Paris in the summer.
Ángel Di María
Ángel Di María has put his Manchester United nightmare behind him in fine style for PSG this season, with the Argentina playmaker regularly looking unplayable for his side.
Di María has been the main creative foil for Zlatan Ibrahimović, with the 28-year-old scoring nine league goals and providing 11 assists to prove he belongs at the highest possible level.
Like Silva, Di María has been particularly outstanding in the Champions League for PSG, scoring three goals and recording a pair of assists during his eight appearances in the competition.
As PSG look to improve on their quarter-final exit last year, Di María is arguably their key man.
Zlatan Ibrahimović hit four goals in the title-sealing 9-0 win at Troyes on Sunday and the Sweden international striker has been in unstoppable form all season.
Ibrahimović – whose contract is set to run out in the summer – has hit 35 goals for PSG already this season and at the age of 34 he is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, it is possible that he is better than ever before.
The striker’s 27 goals and 11 assists in Ligue 1 are truly remarkable numbers, even in a team as dominant as PSG, but it is European glory that eludes Ibrahimović.
Ibrahimović has won 13 league titles in a glittering career – although the two championships he won while at Juventus were revoked due to the club’s match-fixing scandal – but he will be desperate to add a Champions League medal to his already packed trophy cabinet.
Who knows what will be up next for Ibrahimović, who has confirmed he will leave PSG at the end of the season. Perhaps the Premier League could be beckoning.