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Changes PSG Need to Make for Them to Win the Champions League

Published by Bleacher Report on Mon, 16 Mar 2015

Paris Saint-Germains 2-2 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last Wednesday sealed their progress to a third consecutive UEFA Champions League quarterfinal with a familiar 3-3 aggregate score.This time, the away goals were in Les Parisiens favour and not against them, having drawn 3-3 against both Barcelona and Jose Mourinhos men in the past two editions, creating a memorable night in south-west London.Laurent Blanc and his players can now look forward to this Fridays draw for the last eight and legitimately feel a sense of achievement already at having managed to oust one of the previous favourites for the title.Whoever PSG draw next, the defending French champions have no reason to fear them. However, there are one or two sides already in the hat for the draw who look stronger and that the Ligue 1 outfit will probably be looking to avoid.Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are two obvious examples of sides that the men from the French capital will want to avoid, but otherwise many teams in the hat for the draw will fear PSG as much as Blancs men fear them.Despite a superb showing against Chelsea full of character, commitment and passion, not to mention excellent defensive performances, this current side still has a long way to go before being ready to win the Champions League.Admittedly, now that they are into the quarterfinals, anything can happen. PSG showed against Chelsea that they are capable of raising their game exponentially from the type of unimaginative and dry displays we often see in Ligue 1.However, it is likely that this squad will not be able to go all he way to Berlin and come back to Paris with the trophy.Blanc needs to make some changes to his regular starting XI if he is to stand any chance this year, but realistically it will take more than just a few tactical adjustments and changes in personnel.Marquinhos must start at right-back, with Gregory van der Wiel no longer trusted because of his below-par form so far this season. The Brazilian on the right dictates that compatriot David Luiz starts alongside captain Thiago Silva in the middle, with Thiago Motta keeping his role in defensive midfield because of that.If it is the Motta that we have seen at his best in the 3-2 home win over Barcelona or in the 2-2 draw away at Chelsea, then that is not a problem. If it is the Italian from any other part of this season, though, then that is a concern.The teams lack of clinical edge in front of goal is arguably the most concerning thing about PSG's struggles for their best form this season, and that is something that no number of changes will necessarily fix in time to win the Champions League.Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi have all been guilty of missing good opportunities in multiple games, the latter pair especially. Short of rotating Ibrahimovic and Cavani to play them in their preferred role, something that will almost certainly not happen, it seems that the only way around this problem is to wait for one or both to hit prolific form once again.Even if all the above were to happen before the quarterfinal first leg next month, there is no guarantee that it would be enough to even reach the final, let alone win the Champions League.What PSG really need, if they are to challenge seriously for the title, is greater strength in depth.A combination of fatigue, injuries and poor fitness have seen the PSG squad decimated on a number of occasions this season, and there are one or two areas where they could do with a body or two extra.A new goalkeeper to apply some pressure on comfortable first choice Salvatore Sirigu would be a good idea, while a new right-back to replace Van der Wiel and perhaps play behind Serge Aurier once the Ivorian returns to full fitness could be useful.Motta needs replacing in defensive midfield at the end of this season, with Adrien Rabiot emerging and Yohan Cabaye getting back to something close to his best before a string of injuries. A new creative winger to replace Lavezzi and a reliable goal scoring attacker should also be close to the top of Blancs list of priorities.If changes in those areas are made over this summer, then perhaps PSG could be a Champions League contender next season. But for now, they still look like there is something missing that will prevent them from going all the way.
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