Since his arrival at the head of PSG a year ago now, Mauricio Pochettino has never aligned the same starting eleven. But these permanent changes are also found in the total absence of a typical team: the eleven most used players of the season of PSG absolutely do not form a team.
The stat now extends to more than 100 matches and the series of matches with a renewed PSG team composition was extended by Mauricio Pochettino after being launched by Thomas Tuchel in December 2019. Two years in a row to field different compositions at each meeting, which is no small feat in itself, but above all proof of a fairly obvious lack of continuity although linked to many problems (injuries, Covid-19, suspensions, transfer window, etc.) .
But at mid-season, the study of playing times of Parisian players confirms the tendency of a PSG which has absolutely no type team on which it would rely on a regular basis. The eleven most used players thus contain a goalkeeper, three defenders, three midfielders and four attackers. While they have already managed to play 4-2-4 with a huge gap between midfield and attack, PSG have yet to try to play 3-3-4 this season.
The eleven of the most used players this season at PSG: Navas (6th total playing time, 1415 minutes) – Hakimi (1st, 2051), Marquinhos (4th, 1800), Kimpembe (3rd, 1858) – Gueye (5th, 1474 ), Danilo (10th, 1162), Herrera (8th, 1261) – Di Maria (11th, 1133), Messi (7th, 1315), Neymar (9th, 1191) – Mbappé (2nd, 2016 minutes)
Several observations emerge quickly:
- There is no no rear left among the eleven players most used by Pochettino, even if Kimpembe played there for a few minutes (in Reims and Lorient). The playing time is distributed over this position with Mendes (954 minutes), Bernat (465 minutes), Kurzawa (9 minutes), Diallo (1113 minutes distributed with the axis) and even Kehrer (1115 minutes distributed as Diallo). In the end, it is the most open position even if the second part of the season should see Mendes and Bernat divide up the playing time.
- The total playing time of most of the eleven most used players is relatively low. With the exception of the four most used (Hakimi, Mbappé, Kimpembe and Marquinhos), no player has played more than 1,500 minutes (which represents a little less than 17 full matches) while PSG has already played no less of 27 official matches this season. The 11th most used player, Di Maria has barely played the equivalent of 12 full matches! This means that the turnover is massive within the club.
- We find expected holders in attack and defense. At the start of the season, there was no doubt that Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Hakimi, Mbappé, Messi, Neymar would be potential holders and it is therefore logical to find them in this eleven. It was less certain for Navas but he benefited from the late arrival of Donnarumma to play a lot at the start. In attack, the lack of solutions in general also gives more playing time to the few available players and Icardi (928 minutes) is not so far from Di Maria (1133 minutes).
- The three midfielders with the largest CV are absent. Their last season has certainly ended late, especially for Verratti and Paredes who played until mid-July, but the two midfielders on which Pochettino relied the most on his arrival are very far from the account. Paredes only played 500 minutes and Verratti 957. The only rookie in the midfield, Wijnaldum is the 12th most used player in the squad (1129 against 1133 at Di Maria) but this status of 12th man sticks well. to its use. Still, the most used midfielders are called Gueye, Danilo and Herrera, the three who were rather expected on the bench …
From a more global point of view, we find in the end in this eleven type of playing time most of Pochettino’s concerns but the biggest one appears clearly, namely the total lack of continuity in general and in the middle in particular. While his squad seems totally in the works, he cannot rely on his best players in this key sector.