The second stage of Paris Saint-Germain’s 2023 Champions League takes place through Newcastle and the glowing atmosphere at St James’ Park on Wednesday. This presents a challenge for the Parisians who are struggling to find their cruising speed at the start of the season.
Will Paris Saint-Germain finally find the consistency they lack? Facing Newcastle in a simmering atmosphere at St James’ Park, the Parisians will be trying to find their assurance for the second day of the Champions League, a challenge for them who have been struggling to find their cruising speed at the start of the season.
But the goalless draw against Clermont on Saturday confirmed the trend: Paris is still very erratic. It also ranks fifth in Ligue 1, with a seven-day points total among the lowest since QSI took it over in 2011.
However, the Parisians are never as enthusiastic as in the Champions League. On the first day, against Borussia Dortmund on September 19 (2-0 after a convincing performance), they had relied on recovering after a strange defeat at the Parc des Princes stadium against Nice on the previous Friday (3-2).
Kylian Mbappe and Co. know they must not drop too many points during this phase, as they inherited a tough group, also including AC Milan – whom they will host on October 25.
It is expected that the task, on Wednesday, in Newcastle, in the far north of England, will be more difficult in theory than facing Dortmund, which is witnessing a mixed start to the season.
Magpie is in good condition
After several early disappointments, the Magpies (eighth in the Premier League) recorded three wins, including an 8-0 defeat to Sheffield and the elimination of Manchester City in the League Cup (1-0).
The Black and White, whose lack of experience in C1 was announced after two decades of absence, managed to live up to Milan, taking back a valuable point from San Siro in mid-September (0-0) – even if they dominated the game.
Dominant, that’s what PSG will try to be, buoyed by the cohesion instilled by their coach Luis Enrique, who arrived in the summer. The lack of physical influence in the midfield against Clermont should be resolved with the return of Manuel Ugarte and Warren Zaire Emery as regular starters.
The Portuguese Vitinha, the Uruguayan and the 17-year-old Frenchman will no doubt compete with the three midfielders Guimaraes, Tonali and Longstaff, who have been in fine form in recent weeks.
The density in this area of the stadium will be essential to set the tone at St James’ Park, a 50,000-plus seat stadium in the heart of the city known for its enthusiastic crowd.
Fans should pave the way for the return of a Champions League evening at this venue for the first time since the 2002-03 season for Newcastle, which has now been under the Saudi flag since October 2021 following the takeover by majority investors belonging to the Saudi sovereign fund, PIF (Public Investment Fund).
“Newcastle? Not many calories for that…”
Years ago, Antoine Griezmann joined Newcastle as football manager and ‘signed’ Kylian Mbappe upon his departure.
Because in the end, Mbappe will play in Newcastle… and he will come as a visitor.pic.twitter.com/YuWW5MHll5
– La Media Inglesa (@LaMediaInglesa) October 3, 2023
The English club’s coach, Eddie Howe, warned on Sunday: “We will not roll out the red carpet. I am sure the atmosphere will be the best I have ever seen here.” “I know the fans will support us. We can’t wait. It will be a tough test.”
For Mbappe too obviously. During a trip with the French team in June 2021, Antoine Griezmann told him, quite hilariously, that he had recruited him for his role with Newcastle in the Football Manager video game. “It’s not that hot out there,” the person in question responded, clearly incredulous.
With Agence France-Presse