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PSG | Ligue 1: PSG coasting Ligue 1 title even without Messi and Neymar

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Paris Saint-Germain have three wins from three in Ligue 1 and have scored ten goals already, and they haven't even deployed all their weapons yet. The Paris club have yet to field Neymar or new arrival Lionel Messi this season, but even without two of the best attackers in the world they are scoring for fun and seem to be coasting at the top of the table.

Much has been made of the Parisians' summer transfer activity, having added a further handful of stars to a squad already brimming with talent. PSG already had an obscenely well-paid and expensively assembled group of players, but they have made five major additions this summer as they look to regain the French title from Lille.

Besides spending 60 million euros on Inter wing-back Achraf Hakimi, the Qatari-funded club also snapped up Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum and Messi on free transfers. Only two of the new stars have played so far, however, as the rest get up to speed and full fitness.

A miracle is needed to stop PSG

If Lille winning Ligue 1 last season was already something of a miracle, it will take something even more special for any side to stop PSG in 2021/22. As much as the increased international media attention could benefit French football, it must be disheartening for the other competitors in the league to see PSG, already so far ahead in terms of resources, continue to stockpile heavy armoury.

There is an inevitability about their relentless march this season and you can be sure they have barely got going. If three straight wins with goals galore is what they can do without Messi, Neymar, Ramos and Donnarumma, the prospect of PSG at full strength is terrifying. To their strong opening we can also add the stuttering start of their main rivals for the crown in France.

Lille, the reigning champions, have two points from three games. Lyon, who finished fourth last season, are in the same boat, while Monaco, who came third, have just one point from their opening three fixtures. It's almost as if the even greater array of stars PSG have at their disposal has distracted them and caused them to falter. Now they face an uphill battle to make up ground and make sure this season's title race is as exciting as last season's was.

In 2020/21, just seven points separated the top four in France in an enthralling battle which went down to the final day. It would be a terrific achievement if Lille, Monaco, Lyon, or perhaps other clubs such as Marseille, can repeat that and push PSG all the way. However, with the resources PSG have, they should be streets ahead.

The same was true last season, of course, but with the Parisians further strengthened and looking dominant even before Messi and Neymar have kicked a ball, the challenge for the rest is huge. Football is played on the pitch, not the bank, as Lille showed last season, but at the same time, it is sadly known that budgets dictate expectations and the reality rarely veers from that.

Champions League or nothing

So far this campaign, PSG are living up to the high expectations on them and they still have huge scope for improvement. The real test for this super squad may come in Europe, where arguably anything short of winning the Champions League must go down as a failure.

Messi and Neymar will soon be reunited on the pitch, but they took advantage of their weekend off, while their teammates demolished Brest, to visit old friend in Barcelona, as the third member of the MSN triumvirate joined them round the dinner table. Luis Suarez was the only one of them who earned a league winners' medal last season, so perhaps they were looking for advice.

No doubt Suarez will be, like all of us, an interested observer when Messi finally takes to the pitch and PSG's dream team all line up together for the first time.


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August 22, 2021, 3:41 pm





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