Home football PSG / Brazil: distressing awkwardness, fleeting inspiration: it is only the shadow of Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)

PSG / Brazil: distressing awkwardness, fleeting inspiration: it is only the shadow of Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)

by archysport

“Sunday, the Brazilian was very bad, missed too many passes“. The media UOL Esporte did not go hand in hand with Neymar after the insipid performance of the star Auriverde with PSG against Rennes (2-0). A meeting during which the Parisian number 10 almost missed Everything he undertook. Missing a game, it happens. But the problem with the former Barcelona is that it is becoming a trend. Since the start of the season, his good performances have been scarce. Far too rare .

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There were a few highlights. His end of the match against Lyon, where he was the strong man in the reversal of the situation operated by PSG, beyond causing a controversial penalty (2-1) that he himself transformed. A decisive pass to offer the goal of the Parisian victory to Achraf Hakimi against Metz (1-2). Another for Julian Draxler at the very end of the match against Montpellier (2-0). Defensive work praised against Manchester City (2-0) even if its offensive impact left something to be desired against the English. It’s already that. But it is very far from the standards of a usually dominant player like Neymar.

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Stats in free fall

The numbers speak for themselves. His only goal in the game this season, Neymar scored with Brazil against Peru (2-0) last month. With PSG, it dates back to May 1, against Lens (2-1). After 7 appearances, the Brazilian has only one goal and three assists. It was thus decisive once every 197 minutes. A performance in free fall, and which already declined significantly from season to season since joining PSG (decisive once every 82 minutes in 2020-21, 76 minutes in 2019-20, 65 minutes in 2018-19, 61 minutes in 2017-18).

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It is the statistical translation of a phenomenon visible to the naked eye. Neymar makes much less difference, both in passing and dribbling. And especially by the goal. The daily L’Equipe thus emphasized this week that the Brazilian had only found the net twice on his last 41 shots. He shows an awkwardness all the more disconcerting as it is normally one of his strong points. She stood out against Montpellier and Rennes with two point blank attempts not on target. And while Kylian Mbappé was probably better placed than him, in both cases.

Inspiration runs away from him

This is certainly the most problematic. There has always been waste in Neymar’s game, a phenomenon that is ultimately quite logical as the Brazilian’s risk-taking is high, sometimes disproportionate. It is also what allows him to be decisive by succeeding in actions that nobody expects. This inspiration, beyond its technical quality, which normally makes it elusive, seems to have completely disappeared since the start of the season, and even at the end of the last exercise with PSG. And this results in a flagrant lack of accuracy unusual, if not unprecedented, in the game of the Brazilian.

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If the phenomenon is cause for concern, certain factors may possibly explain it. As a precarious physical preparation for a player solicited for selection last summer with the Copa America. Neymar has always needed several matches to regain his feelings. And if he had the opportunity to chain a few matches with PSG, the Brazilian must also adapt to a new offensive animation in the club with the arrival of Lionel Messi. He knows the Argentine well having played with him at Barça. But the trio he forms with Pulga and Kylian Mbappé is new. The time it takes to put the benchmarks in place can influence its current underperformance.

Brazil to relaunch it?

But this hardly justifies the abyssal gap between the intrinsic level of Neymar and the one he has displayed since the start of the season. The international truce seems to come at the right time to revive it. It is in the Brazilian jersey that the Parisian delivered his best performances recently. Failing to be irresistible, the Auriverde star had been able to hold his rank as technical leader to guide his selection for the Copa America final last summer. And his goal against Peru in September had allowed him to end a series of five games without scoring, unprecedented since his debut with the Seleçao in 2010.

His performances will be particularly scrutinized against Colombia and Uruguay. By a whole country that dreams of regaining the top of world football next year in Qatar, and of which Neymar remains the major asset in this regard. And by a PSG worried to see its star being only the shadow of itself since the start of a season where he will need his best version more than ever.

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