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Eyeing the Group B opposition: Three observations from PSG’s 5-0 rout of Celtic

PSG really did a number on the Scottish Champions

Celtic v Paris Saint Germain - UEFA Champions League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

In the other Group B match from the opening day in the UEFA Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain gave Scottish champions Celtic a thorough 5-0 stomping in Glasgow.

Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani (two goals), and an own goal from Celtic’s Mikael Lustig rounded at the scoring on the night as the Parisians provided plenty for Bayern Munich to think about before they meet on match day 2 at the Parc des Princes in two weeks.

PSG are comfortable playing their way out of the back

Celtic came out of the gates flying and put loads of pressure on PSG in their defensive third to try and force the issue. Paris looked more than comfortable playing their way out from the back, though, despite the heavy pressure from the home side - just as Bayern quite often like to do. With a central midfield line comprised of Thiago Motta, Marco Verratti and Adrien Rabiot, there were constantly options for Paris moving the ball out of their back line, leaving Celtic exposed and on the back foot.

Bayern will have to pick and choose when they want to press Paris at the back and leave spaces in behind the midfield and back line. If they throw numbers forward in the same manner as Celtic did, PSG’s attacking firepower will surely make them pay. The pressing absolutely needs to be precise and calculated from Bayern if they want to avoid getting burned.

Bayern need to be wary of Mbappe and Neymar’s interchangeability

Celtic struggled all evening to keep track of PSG’s likely suspects; namely Neymar and Mbappe. Deployed on either flank just behind Cavani, the pair of wingers (Neymar and Mbappe) were quite clever with their interchanging runs throughout the match, constantly switching sides and causing Celtic loads of problems. Both players are prolific from either side and are given plenty of freedom in the attacking third to do as they please without much defensive responsibilities.

Virtually all of Celtic’s midfield was forced to sit back and defend for the majority of the 90 minutes against Paris, which made it difficult for them to commit numbers forward quickly enough when they’d try to spring counterattacks. They too often left Mbappe, Neymar, and/or Cavani in open spaces to run into and pose threats and it cost them dearly.

PSG do leave plenty of open spaces that can be attacked by Bayern

Espeically with a favorable opponent like Celtic, PSG’s wing backs Layvin Kurzawa and Dani Alves love to roam forward and join in on the attack on either flank. Often times this leaves center backs Thiago Silva and Marquinhos isolated at the back on the counterattack. At times, Celtic were able to expose those areas when they’d win the ball in their own defensive third, and they did generate some threatening counter-attacks, but they failed to give Alphonse Areola any difficult saves to make - most of the chances on target were comfortably collected by Areola.

Verratti and Rabiot are also guilty at time of wandering too far forward and tracking back too slowly - Motta is the only PSG midfielder who routinely stays more retreated. This is an area of the pitch that Bayern can really go after as PSG are likely to push the incentive at the Parc des Princes, leaving open spaces that Bayern can take advantage of if they move the ball quickly enough.

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