In what promises to be an interesting game, PSG will host Athletic Bilbao at Parc de Princes tomorrow. While the visitors are through to the knock-out stage of the competition, the Parisiens and Red Bull Salzburg will fight it out for the second place.
As it stands Salzburg have the easier game at their hands, away at Slovan Bratislava, who are in fourth position with no hope of going anywhere. However, Slovan are tough to play as PSG have experienced themselves. A 0-0 draw was followed by a closely contested 1-0 win at home.
If however, PSG fail to progress it is of their own making. They simply come across to be searching for their soul and the team appears to have not clicked yet; rather too often they play individually which makes it easy to defend against them. This was epitomised by their sloppy defending in both home games in European competition this year. At 3-0 the game was safe for PSG, nonetheless, they gave away an easy free kick for Salzburg from which they scored to make it 3-1. Their defending is just not good enough this year. Away at Bilbao and Salzburg they could not raise their game enough to score and duly lost 2-0; a terrible away record in this fairly easy group.
The visitors, Athletic Bilbao are not in particular good form, two 1-1 draws in their last two league games against Santander and Mallorca suggests that they too are in a period of transition with a new manager, Marcelo Bielsa. In Europe meanwhile they look comfortable having not lost a single game and only drawn once, at home against Salzburg. Sitting on top of the table with 13 points and having qualified for the knock out stages already one is tempted to think that Bilbao will simply roll over in order to save energy for the domestic league. Let’s hope not.
Should PSG fail it will be decision time at Parc de Princes and it appears certain decisions have already been made and it is just about the right timing now. It would be an imperative for the decision makers to go back to the drawing board and re-boot the system to come back stronger in the next season.