As pressure mounts on Unai Emery at PSG, Ligue 1 becomes more open
You don't often hear games at Ludogorets in Bulgaria described as must-win, but that’s the situation in which Unai Emery finds himself after his PSG side 2-0 lost to Toulouse on Friday. These are tricky times for the Spaniard, with the French champion four points behind first-place Nice and having already lost twice this season, the same amount as it had in 38 league games last year.
PSG looked good against Arsenal in Europe earlier this month, but PSG is no longer–at least not at the moment–the dominant force it has been in recent years. This can only be a good thing for Ligue 1, which feels a little more open this season–that is, until PSG improves.
Le Parisien suggested that the club misses Zlatan Ibrahimovic “for his influence on the group, his efficiency in front of goal and his ability to unlock tight games.” PSG is now “Cavani-dependent” as the new attacking players are still bedding in: Jese Rodriguez was on the bench in Toulouse, and Hatem Ben Arfa was omitted from the squad again. PSG players were shocked that Emery has dropped Ben Arfa for his physical condition in recent weeks, though the winger will return for Wednesday’s Champions League tie.
Angel di Maria has lost his form, Marco Verratti is often injured, Serge Aurier may be headed to prison for two months, Thiago Motta is struggling to adapt to Emery’s requirements in midfield while Lucas Moura, according to ex-PSG winger Jerome Rothen, “is not doing what he’s supposed to.” The likelihood is that Emery will survive the week and PSG will return to the top spot in France; but for now, the clouds of dissent are hovering, and for the rest of the league, there is a chance to compete.