clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ten months on from Dare-to-Demba, let's meet this year's edition of PSG

Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain will be meeting for the second straight year in the Champions League, this time one knockout round earlier. We know that Chelsea have gotten stronger, but how are PSG's key players faring this season? Read on for a quick primer. (For reference, here's last year's edition.)

Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images


Salvatore Sirigu (Italy, GK, 28) -- The fan favorite continues to be the undisputed #1 in Paris and even got to play one game at last summer's World Cup thanks a Gianluigi Buffon injury.  It was the only game the Italians would win in the entire tournament.  Last season he set a new Ligue 1 record by keeping a clean sheet for 697 minutes; earlier this season he was duly rewarded with a new 4-year contract.  He's undoubtedly a very good goalkeeper, though, unsurprisingly, our very own Christophe Lollichon doesn't quite rate him among the world's best.


Thiago Silva (Brazil, DC, 30) -- Do we still call him the best center back in the world?  FIFA still do, but I'm not so sure anymore.  After an excellent domestic campaign, it was a rough summer for the club and national captain, even if he didn't have to suffer the ignominy of losing 7-1 to Germany first hand (and instead was suspended thanks to a supremely silly yellow card in the previous knockout round).  He began the new season by picking up an injury that ruled him out until November.  Since returning to full fitness, he's started all but one game for Laurent Blanc's side.

David Luiz (Brazil, DC, 27) -- A week after selling former Chelsea center back Alex, PSG made fellow Brazilian David Luiz the most expensive defender ever by buying him for a reported £50m from Chelsea.  Now, that number may have been an overhyped guess, but even at the low-end estimation of £37m, most would claim that PSG overpaid and overpaid by quite a bit.  Then again, can you really put a price on the bundle of awesome that is Sideshow Dave?  I'm not sure you can.  David Luiz, now once again a center back exclusively, settled quickly in Paris and leads all non-goalkeepers in minutes played.  And now that he's out of Chelsea, he can even win FIFA awards like being voted into the FIFPro World XI alongside his friend and teammate Thiago Silva.

Marquinhos (Brazil, DC/DR, 20) -- With Silva injured, Marquinhos began the season as David Luiz's partner in the center of the defense, but has found minutes hard to come by since the elder statesman's return.  Blanc has even had to resort to trying Marquinhos at right back, to mixed reviews.  Incidentally, PSG have yet to lose in any of his 25 appearances this season.  Much like our very own 20-year-old hot prospect in defense, Marquinhos is still learning, but he's sure to play a large role for both club and country in the future.  He's already received three caps since Dunga took over Brazil, but may miss out tomorrow due to injury.

Maxwell (Brazil, DL, 33) -- His contract may be up this summer, but the veteran left back has worked his way back to once again become the undisputed first choice after starting as a de facto backup to Lucas Digne.  Maybe next season is the season Digne truly takes over the position?

Gregory van der Wiel (Netherlands, DR, 27) -- The same knee injury that kept him out against Chelsea last time also kept the right back out of the World Cup.  On again, off again injuries have continued into this season as well, but as the only fit right back currently in the squad, he's sure to start.  He probably would've started anyway, especially at home, and so we finally will get to see Hazard vs. the right back who's mostly concerned with attacking.

Serge Aurier (Ivory Coast, DR, 21) -- Aurier has been splitting time with the other two options at right back since his summer transfer from Toulouse (when not away on Africa Cup of Nations duty), but he's currently injured.

Lucas Digne (France, DL, 21) -- He was the heir apparent to Maxwell last season, and he's the heir apparent to Maxwell this season as well.  He's actually played quite a bit less this season than last, even after receiving his first ever senior cap for France.  He has just 4 minutes of 2014-15 Champions League action to his name, for example.


Blaise Matuidi (France, MC, 27) -- Ever present for both club and country, Matuidi remains a player that very few clubs in the world would turn down.  Unluckily for PSG, he's just one of their many injury concerns ahead of tomorrow's game.

Thiago Motta (Italy/Brazil, DM, 32) -- Still the hammer to Matuidi's sickle, everything from last year applies here as well.  Even when his nose was broken in August by Brandao, Motta only missed 1 game.  And yet, he's also an injury doubt for the first leg, also with a calf strain like Matuidi.  Both Motta & Matuidi have been playing well recently, losing either or both would be a big blow.

Marco Verratti (Italy, MC, 22) -- Feels like he's been around forever, which is roughly the same length of time that we've been waiting for him to make the "next step" towards universally recognized greatness.  Chelsea repeatedly exposed him as a defensive liability last season, and that should be the case once again.  He did start two games for Italy at the World Cup, so plenty of people continue to believe in him as some sort of next big thing.

Yohan Cabaye (France, MC, 29) -- One year later, it's still a bit of a mystery why Cabaye was in such a hurry to join PSG.  He has yet to consistently beat out any of the three above him for a starting spot.  The qualities he's shown in the Premier League are still there, surely, but it doesn't even really matter because he's injured anyway.

Adrien Rabiot (France, MC, 19) -- He hasn't quite followed up his breakout season as expected this year; still highly promising and often coveted.

Javier Pastore (Argentina, MC/AM, 25) -- This time last year, Pastore was fading from the potential elite of the world.  One improbable goal against Chelsea later, he's almost back to the form and promise that caused a bidding war between PSG and Chelsea in the summer of 2011.  He's even earned a recall to the national side after missing out on the World Cup.  Pastore had been ever present in PSG's lineups before suffering a thigh injury from which he has just recovered.  He may only be fit enough for the bench on Tuesday.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, ZLATAN, 33) -- He's missed a fair bit of the season through injury -- which means he might not actually hit 30+ goals for the fourth straight season -- but Zlatan is still Zlatan and the whole team is built around making sure he can do Zlatan things at will.

Edinson Cavani (Uruguay, FL/FC/FR, 28) -- Despite the constant rumors, Cavani remains in Paris to play second fiddle to Zlatan.  Despite getting shuffled around all-across the forward line, Cavani has been a consistent source of goals, though many are still waiting for that truly game-changing performance that would justify his exorbitant transfer fee.  He's already had his fair share of high profile misses (and one goal) against Chelsea, so anything could happen.

Lucas Moura (Brazil, FR, 22) -- Possibly the most improved player on PSG, Lucas is finally living up to his initial hype.  His absence through injury will be keenly felt.

Ezequiel Lavezzi (Argentina, FL/FR, 29) -- About to hit 30, Lavezzi is starting to show signs of slowing down, and with Lucas's emergence, has been playing less than seasons previous.  But he's hit decent form just in time to torment Branislav Ivanovic once again.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the We Ain't Got No History Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Chelsea news from We Ain't Got No History