Ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash between Celtic and PSG we spoke to Get French Football News’ Eric Devin to get the PSG perspective on facing Celtic.
Firstly we spoke about the reaction in Paris to the draw:
“Celtic were definitely viewed as the trickiest of the sides in the fourth pot, as their performances in last season’s Champions League showed. A unexpected draw against Celtic could be ruinous as Paris Saint-Germain will be expected to be in a fight Bayern Munich for first place in the group. Celtic have strengthened with the signing of Olivier Ntcham, and getting another season of Patrick Roberts will excite the fans. Being able to hang on to Moussa Dembélé was also a bit of a coup, and he looks the real danger man for the hosts provided he can pass fit. Celtic are a fourth seed for a reason, but they look to be on the right path under Brendan Rogers, and probably are the third-best side in the group after Anderlecht’s heavy losses in the summer.”
On PSG’s start to the season:
“Despite some nervy moments in their three most recent matches against Metz, Toulouse and Saint-Étienne, PSG have looked sharp in the league. They could have improved their goalkeeping section and depth in midfield over the summer, but they seem not to be too preoccupied with that side of things, preferring instead to operate as an unstoppable attacking juggernaut. All signs point to a dominant performance domestically, as they are already three points clear of Monaco, with other potential rivals Marseille, Nice and Lyon even further back.”
We then discussed how the signing of Kylian Mbappe will change the dynamic of PSG:
“Given he’s only played one match with the club it is hard to say definitively, but PSG look even brighter with him in the side. Against Metz on Friday, he played as a second striker, with Julian Draxler and Neymar cutting inside and Thiago Motta and Adrien Rabiot sitting deep. Fullbacks Thomas Meunier and Yuri Berchiche were responsible for providing width, and while this formation may not be suitable for every match, it does have great potential. At the very least, it looks a sensible way to approach including the youngster, even if it means dropping both Angel Di Maria and Lucas Moura, who had started last season as first choice on the wings.”
The perception of Celtic’s new on-loan signing from PSG Odsonne Edouard in Paris:
“To be quite frank, Édouard is a bit of a misfit in the capital. He has scored freely for France’s various youth sides, and in the U-19 Champions’ League, but is yet to make an impact with the senior side. A promising loan spell to Toulouse last season saw him score just once in sixteen appearances, and after being arrested, along with teammate Mathieu Cafaro, for firing a pellet gun from a car, that loan was terminated, raising serious doubts over his maturity. Failing to prove himself in Scotland could see him cast off by the French side; scoring on his debut is a good start to his time in Glasgow, but he will need to do this consistently to live up to his potential.”
On to the game itself, we discussed what Celtic players PSG will be most wary of:
“Scott Sinclair has been among the goals in the league lately, while Patrick Roberts’ creativity over the course of last season (14 assists across all competitions) showed he has found his level with the Scottish champions. The real key to this match, however, could be Moussa Dembélé. After an absence with a hamstring injury, was back in training this week, with an eye towards being fit for Tuesday’s match. Still just 21, he was the rumoured subject of a massive bid from Marseille this summer, but Celtic held firm, knowing that another season in the Champions’ League could further boost his value. Especially with Lee Griffiths a doubt with a knock, Dembélé’s scoring prowess could prove the difference this mid-week.”
How well would PSG’s superstars cope with the noted atmosphere at Celtic Park:
“Besides Kylian Mbappé and Presnel Kimpembe, this team is vastly experienced, and shouldn’t be overawed in any way. Ligue 1 serves up any number of good atmospheres over a season, with Nantes, Marseille and Saint-Étienne being particularly hostile, so this is a club well used to intimidating environments.”
Finally, we asked Eric on his prediction for the game and this season overall for PSG:
“Celtic 1-3 PSG. The hosts have shown a real verve in attack, and, unlike under Neil Lennon, Brendan Rogers plays a style of football that encourages being on the front foot. Between PSG’s sometimes-middling goalkeepers and a midfield in flux, Celtic should be good for a goal, but with the wealth of attacking options that the visitors have, it’s hard to see anything other than a decisive win for the French side.
For the season as a whole, Ligue 1 should be easier than it was last season, with a title all but a formality. Cup wins will be expected as well, but the real importance has been placed on the Champions’ League. The draw for the knockout stages could be cruel if PSG don’t win this group; Bayern are a club similarly in flux with the departures of Xabi Alonso and Philipp Lahm, and must be overcome.”