Newcastle United – Paris Saint-Germain: Luis Enrique’s Prudent Experiment Fails In Execution (4-1)

The second matchday in the UEFA Champions League's group of death saw a fixture that was partly a football match and partly a geopolitical meeting. On the pitch, it did not turn out to be much of a contest as Paris Saint-Germain were completely overrun by a brilliant Newcastle United performance.

Tactical analysis and match report by Neel Shelat.

Newcastle United’s return to Europe’s premier club competition was quite a daunting one, as they have been drawn into the mother of all groups of death featuring Paris Saint-Germain, Milan and Borussia Dortmund. Although it can be argued that some of these clubs are not at the peak of their powers in recent years, their opponents for this match seemed to be going on an upward trajectory so far this season.

Paris Saint-Germain might not be leading Ligue 1 at the moment, but they look a much more well-rounded side under Luis Enrique after the departures of superstars like Lionel Messi and Neymar. As a result, this season might be their best shot in recent years of finally winning the prize they have been coveting the most - the Champions League. But they knew this game would be a very tough test because Newcastle's greatest strength was their biggest weakness - the high press.

The lineup named by Luis Enrique indicated that he recognized this, as the Spanish tactician uncharacteristically switched to a 4-2-4 formation. The defense was all as expected, with Gianluigi Donnarumma in goal behind Achraf Hakimi, Marquinhos, Milan Škriniar and Lucas Hernández. Manuel Ugarte was partnered by Warren Zaïre-Emery in midfield, whilst Ousmane . . .

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