Heat rises on Emery as PSG continues to struggle on field, at gate without Zlatan

Monday December 5th, 2016

The poll question in Le Parisien said it all: Is Unai Emery the man to win Ligue 1 with PSG?

That the question is even being asked at all shows that all is not going well for the club's new coach, whose side lost 3-0 at Montpellier Sunday and slipped four points behind Nice at the top of the table.

Emery could still go into the winter break feeling comfortable. A win over Ludogorets in the Champions League Tuesday will ensure PSG’s top spot ahead of Arsenal in Group A, while next week is the big one against leader Nice. But with PSG already seven points behind on where it was after 16 games last season (35 points as opposed to 42), there are already murmurs of discontent behind the scenes.

Last Wednesday, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, watched PSG beat Angers 2-0. But he was not happy: the crowd of 23,000 was the lowest since Qatar Sports Investments bought the club back in 2011. Was this the Zlatan Ibrahimovic effect in action? PSG did not replace the forward that provided the club with stardust, while early results put the brakes on Emery’s preferred offensive style of play.

PSG’s summer signings have not yet clicked, with the coach demanding that Hatem Ben Arfa, who has barely made any impact, “can do a lot better.” Next week against his former club Nice would be a decent place to start. Weekend reports in England suggested that PSG would bid for Dmitri Payet, but what it needs is a striker. The problem for PSG is that needs someone with an image as well as talent. And as sports director Patrick Kluivert is finding out, that might not be so easy. 

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