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Don’t Count PSG Out Of The Chase For The Champions League

Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich: Your average years’ teams predicted to win the Champions League, especially with Manchester United’s struggles the past three years. However, this year, A new team has established itself as a threat. Paris St. Germain, France’s top club, deserves to be in the Champions League contender conversation.

Talent wise, Madrid, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich all have better talent with greater depth, but PSG isn’t is lacking terribly in either category.

They have one of the best strikers in the world at the moment, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who in 21 games has scored 23 goals. More than Ronaldo and Neymar in La Liga. Suarez has two more, but he played in four more games than Zlatan.

The past few years, PSG might have been just Zlatan and company, but the addition of Angel Di Maria has greatly improved the offense. Ronaldo did not get mad when Di Maria got sold for no reason. He might have struggled with Manchester United, but he is not in the French League right now.

In 18 games, he has 9 goals and 10 assists with a 7.87 rating. He has done most of his damage on the outside making the Di Maria-Ibra combo so dangerous.

Add an in-form Cavani, and this team is not going to be easy to beat. There has to be a reason why they have only lost 1 game this year, which happened to be a 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid on a deflection tap-in goal.

Lately, asking for the best of Cavani on a daily basis is not something PSG fans can hope will happen. However, Lucas Moura has managed to give them a lift off of the bench especially in Champions League with 2 goals and 1 assist.

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Even if they struggle to attack, the duo of Thiago Silva and David Luis usually cleans up the mess in the back and Matuidi and Veratti controlling in the middle. Their Ligue 1 campaign, while 23 points ahead of second place Monaco, will be briefly halted due to the absence of Serge Aurier. Aurier has quickly become one of Europe’s best full-backs. Off-the-field issues have relieved Aurier of his duties for the month of March. If Aurier can show the coaches that he’s maturing as a person, he can continue to be one of Europe’s best talents.

It is not like that they are just talented – they are leading the French League by 23 points. The last time that happened in La Liga was in 1990 with Barcelona and it has never happened in the Premier League.

Of course, La Liga and the Premier League are much better leagues than the French, but PSG has the ability to compete with the higher ranked teams in the world, including tying Real Madrid and controlling possession for most of the game in their 1-0 loss to Madrid.

Ronaldo had little involvement in both legs while Zlatan created enough chances to give them the win in both legs.

You cannot judge PSG solely on their past as this is their best team in recent memory. Ibrahimovic needed help in the attack last year and he got it. Di Maria has boosted the offense more than expected, even in wake of Cavani’s disappointing 2014/2015 season. Lucas Moura has improved his game dramatically, nearly exceeding his goals and assists from last season in fewer games. Javier Pastore has played well when called upon, but he is far away from the excellent season he had in 2014/2015 (34 appearances, 5 goals, 12 assists), as he only has (12 appearances, 1 goal, 2 assists).

PSG is no pushover. They  attack quickly and often and their speed allows them control the opposition. Last year, they lost to Barcelona with Zlatan out of the first leg. If they beat Chelsea and draw Barcelona again, We could be looking at a big upset.

Don’t count the French club out in a David vs. Goliath matchup. They have the firepower, can their opponents match it?

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