PSG completed their preparation tour in Japan with three victories against local teams. A stay that allowed Christophe Galtier to put in place a new tactical plan. With a three-man defense, an involved Neymar, Vitinha’s first steps or the advent of young Warren Zaire-Emery.
Galtier chose his system
He had announced it as soon as he arrived. And he confirmed it during this tour in Japan. During the three preparation matches, against Kawasaki Frontale (2-1), Urawa Reds (3-0) and Gamba Osaka (6-2), Christophe Galtier opted for the same tactical scheme. Unlike Mauricio Pochettino, his predecessor, the new PSG coach has chosen to articulate his team in 3-4-1-2. With three central defenders, two pistons on the wings, two midfielders and an attacking trio. A system in which the Parisians have signed three successes against teams well within their reach. Beyond the scores and the difficult climatic conditions (heat and humidity), the content of the matches brought to light notable changes. Both sides of the field.
In this device, Kylian Mbappé’s teammates have created a host of dangerous situations. What to satisfy their coach: “The DNA of my players is to play, to attack and to score as many goals as possible and we must not try to change that”. But Galtier also noted the mistakes of his rear guard, often in difficulty and sometimes too isolated from the rest of the team. “We have to be more structured, less messy and show a much tougher face in the next matches,” said the 55-year-old technician.
A trio of stars in front
This is one of the major questions of the summer. Will Neymar stay in Paris? The Brazilian number 10 repeats that he wants to continue his adventure in the capital, which he started five years ago. With a contract recently extended automatically until 2027, the 30-year-old artist does not want to pack up. Despite this uncertain context, the Ney appeared smiling and involved on Japanese soil. Back sharp from his vacation, he showed some interesting things during this “Japan Tour”, concluded with a double against Gamba Osaka (including a penalty).
Galtier expressed his joy at being able to count on him, associating him with Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé. A trio on which “Galette” should rely in the coming weeks. At least to start the season. Pending the incorporation of Hugo Ekitiké (who was not present in Japan) or the recruitment of a new striker, Neymar, Messi and Mbappé seem to be part of forming the offensive line of PSG. If they stay, Arnaud Kalimuendo and Pablo Sarabia should be content with an understudy role, while Mauro Icardi is still a shadow of himself and Julian Draxler has been sidelined.
The integration of Vitinha
It is finally the only recruit who participated in this stay in the land of the rising sun. Vitinha took the opportunity to get to know her new partners better. The midfielder has also refined his integration in the field, with rather promising performances. The former Porto (recruited for more than 40 million euros) notably admired his ball touch, his vista and his passing quality in midfield, alongside Marco Verratti, Idrissa Gueye or Leandro Paredes.
Like his caviar for Nuno Mendes against Gamba Osaka, the Portuguese international (3 selections) is capable of bringing danger with his panoramic vision and knows how to break the lines with the ball at his foot. But his baptism in Paris was also marked by inaccuracies, a certain reserve and a lack of solidity in the duel. No doubt intimidated, he has not yet let go in the midst of his illustrious teammates.
Ramos chained outings
He played 843 minutes last season (in all competitions). The equivalent of just over 9 full matches. A misery for Sergio Ramos, who chained physical problems after signing for PSG in July 2021. Enough to create enormous frustration among supporters of the champions of France. After starting individual preparation at the start of the summer, the Spanish defender took advantage of this Asian trip to get back on his feet. The 36-year-old manager participated in the three preparation meetings. In a central right role, which has not always highlighted him.
His grinta, his experience and his technical quality allowed him to hold his position. Without getting hurt. But his placement and his lack of speed sometimes put Paris in danger. His association with Marquinhos and Presnel Kimpembe remains largely perfectible. The three warriors will have to work on their automatisms to form a less permeable wall. While waiting for other possible recruits in this sector, Ramos’ return to business is still excellent news for PSG.
Kalimuendo and Sarabia showed up
With two goals in three games, he stood out in Japan. Back after a conclusive loan to Lens, Arnaud Kalimuendo scored points in the mind of Christophe Galtier. The Parisian coach has also complimented his young striker for his efforts, his dynamism and his ability to go deep. His good humor was also appreciated. Something to delight the 20-year-old striker, who hopes to stay with his training club this season, even if his departure is not excluded in the event of an interesting offer.
Pablo Sarabia is somewhat in the same situation. The Spanish winger, back from a successful loan spell at Sporting, has also scored two goals in three appearances. Eager to find a place in the red and blue locker room, he sent a clear message to his leaders. With several successful copies. In another register, Keylor Navas made his talent speak during the victory against the Urawa Reds, by multiplying the spectacular stops. But the Costa Rican goalkeeper will still start the season as a replacement for Gianluigi Donnarumma, who has not always reassured in his interventions.
The advent of Zaire-Emery
He is presented as one of the most gifted of his generation. Well beyond the Paris region. At just 16 years old, Warren Zaire-Emery recalled why during this internship in Japan. The native of Montreuil, who recently signed his first professional contract (until 2025), made his debut in the red and blue jersey. Galtier offered him playing time against Kawasaki Frontale, before starting him against Urawa Reds alongside Marco Verratti. Despite his young age, the Parisian titi impressed with his physical and technical maturity. To the point of applying for a place in the rotation this season? It is not impossible.
Undesirables always present
This is one of the major projects for PSG during this off-season. And for the moment, it does not advance. While the capital club wants to part with many players, nothing has changed so far. The undesirables are still there. Some, like Ander Herrera or Julian Draxler, were left at Camp des Loges. But others were taken to Japan, a bit by default. None of them really pulled out of the game during the three friendly matches organized on site. Danilo Pereira, Thilo Kehrer and Abdou Diallo appeared limited in central defense. Idrissa Gueye and Leandro Paredes did not weigh much in the middle and Mauro Icardi was non-existent in attack. A massive problem that Paris will have to resolve quickly to lighten its troops and finally accelerate its recruitment.