Paris Saint-Germain – SSC Napoli: Tuchel’s testing almost costs PSG dearly against Napoli (2-2)
PSG manager Thomas Tuchel takes a fascinating path in his aim to win the club’s first Champions League title. For the third time this season, PSG deliberately gave up possession to test themselves in a defensive setting. Napoli largely dominated the first half as a result and took the lead. The game tilted PSG’s way in the second half, but not enough for a win.
This was a crucial game for both sides, as Napoli and PSG both took a misstep in their first two games. PSG lost away from home to Liverpool, while Napoli undeservedly dropped points against Crvena Zvezda. Whoever won this game would take a good step towards the knockout stages.
Under manager Carlo Ancelotti, Napoli has switched from Sarri’s possession-heavy 4-3-3 formation to a highly pragmatic and flexible 4-4-2. Somewhat comparable to Atlético Madrid, the wingers mostly decide how the formation actually plays out on the field.
For this game, Fabián Ruiz was picked as the left midfielder, while José Callejón played his nominal position on the right. Allan and Marek Hamšík are in the engine room in central midfield, while Dries Mertens en Lorenzo Insigne form a small and mobile striking duo.
So far this season, in big games, it all has been about finding the right balance for PSG. Utilizing Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kyllian Mbappé to their full potential, while also maintaining a good defensive presence and be resistant to counterattacks.
For this game, Tuchel seemingly opted for a 4-2-3-1 shape in possession, with the passing duo Marco Verratti and Adrien Rabiot as the double pivot. A few minutes into the game, however, Tuchel’s . . .