PSG 2021/22 review: Short of expectations but a huge statement sent | OneFootball
PSG 2021/22 review: Short of expectations but a huge statement sent
What was anticipated to be a promising season after a stunning transfer window turned into a somewhat mediocre year for Mauricio Pochettino’s side but the mood was lifted by a big announcement on the final day.
Ligue 1 – 1st
Following reigning champions Lille’s dramatic decline, PSG rose back to the top of Ligue 1 and finished a staggering 15 points clear for their 10th title.
The record-equalling triumph was no surprise really, as other clubs like Marseille and Monaco struggled to create a close title race.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean PSG were gliding through over the course of the season. They struggled away from the Parc des Princes, dropping points in nine of the 19 fixtures outside the Parc des Princes, with a humbling 3-0 loss to Monaco the nadir.
Champions League – Round of 16
A decent group stage campaign that featured Manchester City, RB Leipzig, and Club Brugge was then followed up by heartbreak in the first knockout round.
When PSG drew Real Madrid, the headlines were exploding with multiple dramatic storylines woven into the contest.
Neymar and Lionel Messi against their former enemies, Sergio Ramos and Keylor Navas’ return and the Kylian Mbappé’s transfer saga all set the sceene.
When push came to shove, the Parisiens cracked under pressure and Real Madrid crashed through despite two Mbappé goals putting PSG 2-0 up after 129 minutes of play.
Coupe de France – Round of 16
Arguably one of the biggest shocks of the club’s season was when they fell short in the Coupe de France against Nice.
A 0-0 draw held out until penalties and the reigning champions fell short on spot-kicks 5-6.
It was the first time PSG, who have won the competition a record 14 times, did not make it to the final since 2014.
Trophée des Champions – Runners-up
The 2021/22 season also got off on a sour note for PSG as they fell to reigning league champions Lille 1-0.
However, the final may not have been a true representation of the club’s ability with multiple starting players not participating.
Player of the season: Kylian Mbappé
It just had to be him, didn’t it? In a star-studded squad, 23-year-old Mbappé continues to carve himself out a spot as the best of the bunch.
It wasn’t Neymar, Ángel Di María or new signings Messi, Ramos, Achraf Hakimi Georginio Wijnaldum, Gianluigi Donnarumma, who consistently stood out.
Nobody in Ligue 1 scored more goals or provided more assists than the Frenchman as he stepped up over and over again. That long-lasting Real Madrid saga did not have any impact on his performance, either.
Capping off another impressive individual season on the final day of Ligue 1 action with a hat-trick against Metz simply proves the point.
Game of the season: PSG 1-0 Real Madrid
PSG ran rings around Real Madrid during their first-leg clash in the Champions League round of 16 and came out on top thanks to classic Mbappé heroics in the 94th minute.
The tie should have been over at that point. PSG dominated at home, taking 21 shots to Real Madrid’s three, but couldn’t make their advantage count as they missed a host of chances and had a Lionel Messi penalty saved before Mbappé’s late winner.
This felt like the night PSG arrived on the biggest stage of them all and, no matter what happened in the return leg, can serve as a blueprint moving forward.
Top goalscorer: Kylian Mbappé
Nobody could match Mbappé’s incredible output this season with 39 goals in 46 matches across all competitions. The next highest was Neymar (13).
The boy from Bondy’s tally includes three hat-tricks plus Champions League goals against giants Real Madrid and Manchester City.
He finished the season as Ligue 1’s top scorer with 28 league goals and managed more assists (17) than any other player, becoming the first to lead the league for both goals and assists since 1982/83.
Rising star: Nuno Mendes
With 40 appearances to his name this season, you might think Nuno Mendes was a veteran defender. He is not. At just 19, the Portuguese has shown heaps of promise and his debut PSG season has been superb.
Already an international and a key member of PSG’s squad, the left-back plays a big role in their lightning-quick counter-attacks with his impressive ability to run with the ball and accurate delivery.
There is no doubt we’ll see more of his influence on the pitch next season.
What comes next?
First things first, Kylian Mbappé is sticking around. The size of his decision to stay at the club, turning down Real Madrid to sign a new deal until 2025, cannot be underestimated.
It looks like there are about to be a lot of changes within PSG, with rumours that Leonardo and Pochettino could both leave, and the latest reports claim Mbappé could play a role in deciding how things look off the pitch from now on.
Champions League glory in the not-so-near future is a must if the club wants to keep improving.
Will someone finally take this star-studded side and churn out the required performances on the biggest stage of all?
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