Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) has confirmed that Neymar will miss ten weeks due to an injury he suffered in a game against Strasbourg on the 23rd of January. The injury will force him to miss both clashes against Manchester United in the Round of 16 Champions League tournament. On a positive note, the injury won’t require surgery and Neymar can very well return in mid-April.
Man U and PSG are set to face off for the first leg on February 12th at Old Trafford. Man U has been on a bit of tear since the sacking of Jose Mourinho, winning seven of their last eight games while PSG despite suffering a shocking elimnination in the quarterfinals of the Coupe de la Ligue, are still undefeated in Ligue 1 play.
While the absence of Neymar strikes a big blow to PSG, it’s not a big predicament for them. The injury to Neymar means that it’s time for Kylian Mbappe to step up lead the charge. Neymar missed the Champions League Round of 16 last year against Real Madrid.
Mbappe had his chance to make a difference. Due to the pressure, he failed to get anything going as PSG faltered. This year, Mbappe is coming into the Round of 16 as a more-accomplished player with more experience, more motivation, and a higher level of concentration. The young French attacker has a chance to avenge his failure from last year and right his wrongs.
Mbappe is the top scorer in Ligue 1 with 18 goals with teammate Edinson Cavani who has 16. Both have a chance to show the world that the loss of Neymar is only a door of opportunity wide open for them. Overall, it’s an opportunity for PSG to prove to the world that Neymar is not their only reason for success.
In the past three games, PSG manager Thomas Tuchel has used a 4-2-2-2 tactic. In this tactic, Mbappe and Cavani are placed side-by-side in the front. Not too far behind is Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler as attacking midfielders.
Before going down, Neymar played a game in this formation, playing alongide Di Maria and he scored two goals. In that same game, PSG scored nine goals with Cavani and Mbappe scoring hat-tricks. With Neymar out, Draxler will need to fill in for him full time. This tactic seems to be useful for the club, though it’s unknown if PSG will use it in their clash against Man U.
PSG has three games to play before they head to Old Trafford. While Man U is a totally different team than earlier this season, PSG faced a bigger challenge when they squared off against Liverpool in the Group Stage and beat them. Liverpool is currently at the top of the Premier League while Man U is sitting in sixth place. Regardless, Man U is coming for PSG with everything they’ve got. PSG has to be ready.