Lille - Paris Saint-Germain / Verratti - Vitinha (PSG) : faux jumeaux, vrai duo

Lille – Paris Saint-Germain / Verratti – Vitinha (PSG) : faux jumeaux, vrai duo

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This is perhaps the biggest change at PSG. Certainly not the only one in a club which started a small revolution this summer under the aegis of Luis Campos and Christophe Galtier. But one of the most important, certainly. Paris have suffered too much from a lack of quality in midfield in the past. To caricature the situation, there was Marco Verratti and the others. But the Italian is no longer alone at the start of the season. At his side, rookie Vitinha was quick to show this potential which makes him one of the great promises of Portuguese football.

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It’s a pocket duo. Verratti (1.65m) and Vitinha (1.72m) have in common not to present an impressive size. But the similarities between the two Parisian circles are far from stopping there. In some aspects of the game, the resemblance is even striking. The Italian and the Portuguese do not, however, have exactly the same profile. Small differences in their respective registers which above all make a great complementarity between two players brought to give another dimension to the Parisian midfield.

What brings them together

In a different profile, they see the game in the same way. Like Verratti, Vitinha particularly appreciates doubling passes and short transmissions. At PSG, they are the two players who have managed the most short passes (85 for Verratti, 74 for Vitinha) with a similar success rate (93%). In this approach, they also have in common to seek the game forward, by their quality of passing but also thanks to a technique clearly above the average for their position. They have each accumulated 303 meters gained with the ball on foot over the first two days of L1. Only Leo Messi has done better so far (325m).

Marco Verratti and Vitinha, the two midfielders of PSG

Credit: Marko Popovic

What also brings Vitinha closer to Verratti is this ability to perfectly read the opposing game. They each have a fairly exceptional ability to read and anticipate the opponent’s transmissions. And when they have not recovered the ball, the two players also know how to use vice to make these “tactical” faults to cut the actions. This sometimes results in yellow cards. Verratti is a specialist, but Vitinha is a strong contender with three bookings in three games already and a suspension to come against Monaco. “I made three matches with zero yellow cards, Vitinha took my place, it’s good!“, had also joked Verratti after PSG – Montpellier (5-2).

What sets them apart

This is Verratti’s little extra. The Italian has a wide register, but he is particularly valuable in that of the pure recuperator. On the first two matches of L1, the difference with Vitinha is made in particular on the number of successful tackles (6 for Verratti, 0 for Vitinha), but especially on the number of pressings carried out on an opposing player: 47, including 13 successful either a success rate of 27.7% for Verratti against 18, including one successful, i.e. a success rate of 5.6% for Vitinha. The Italian has a higher number of recovered balls than the Portuguese (19 against 9), who only competes on the number of interceptions (3, against 2 for Verratti).

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This is the little extra of Vitinha. The Portuguese is not content to be the base of attacking moves. They accompany them by soliciting one-twos, creating triangle games, and very regularly finishing actions in the penalty area. The Portuguese isn’t the first player wanted to score but his presence makes things easier for the forwards. “We’re a little differentperfectly summed up Verratti after the victory against Montpellier. He projects a lot. He knows how to play without the ball. He creates spaces for others.“Vitinha still has other attacking qualities that Verratti does not have, such as his ball striking in particular.

What makes them complementary

Everyone is in their favorite role within the double pivot set up by Galtier. Verratti more supportive with the game ahead of him, and Vitinha with the freedom of movement he loves. But they also know how to get out of their comfort zone depending on the progress of the action and compensate for the movements of the other to maintain the collective balance. They thus manage to each express the fullness of their talent while enhancing the other. It still lacks automatisms to perfect the exchanges between the two players, but the connection of this pair is already quite clear. “I will be told that she is not physical enough but the important thing is the use of the ball“, underlined Christophe Galtier Friday in a press conference.

  • A game plan that suits them

Campos did not go looking for Vitinha by chance. The PSG sports adviser knew perfectly well the profile of the Portuguese, his ability to fit into the scheme and the philosophy of play advocated by Galtier, and the potential of the pair he could form with Verratti. The two players are the cornerstones of the infernal pressing imposed by PSG on the first two matches of L1, not only because they have the talent for it but also because they like it. They have this same idea of ​​the game which corresponds completely to the project of Galtier. Their duo is all the more complementary. And time will tell if he will be as effective as the one Verratti formed with Thiago Motta. When the middle of PSG was an asset and not a problem.

Statistics: fbref.com

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