Is Edinson Cavani the new Zlatan Ibrahimovic?
That was the question they were asking in France after Cavani followed up his miss-ridden Champions League performances against Arsenal with four first-half goals in PSG’s comfortable 6-0 win at Caen. As against Arsenal, the Uruguayan’s movement, timing and ability to find space was outstanding; the difference was that this time, he could not stop scoring. This is his first season out of the shadow of Ibrahimovic, and he has been restored to the number nine position that he favored at Napoli. The suspicion lingers that he might be more similar to Ibra than you’d expect: the Swede’s biggest criticism was that he was a flat-track bully, who boosted his goal record against weaker teams.
Cavani scored 19 Ligue 1 goals last season but only two in the Champions League. France Football pointed out that his only big European goal for PSG has come against Chelsea; other than that, he has scored against Ajax, Apoel, Benfica, Malmo, Anderlecht, Olympiakos, but never against Barcelona, Real Madrid or Manchester City. It's a harsh criticism of a player who never hides.
And not everyone thought he was poor against Arsenal. “He scored a goal and created four scoring opportunities almost on his own,” said former France coach Raymond Domenech in an interview in Le Parisien. “He was a key player throughout the game, and he never stops working or moving. Where were the other strikers? We must stop attacking him.”