Wall Street Football

Les jeux sont faits

Once again this year, the Paris team showed clear superiority over the rest of their rivals by winning yet another league title, 15 points ahead of second-placed Marseille.

They added yet another trophy to their collection, bringing their record to 10 Ligue 1 titles in total, joining the Saint-Étienne team for the most titles won. 

Since Nasser Al-Khelaïfi’s arrival in 2012, the Paris Saint-Germain Football Club won 8 league titles, 5 French Cups, 6 League Cups and 7 Super Cups: one triumph after another, thanks to the great economic availability that over the years has allowed the PSG owner to buy the best players in the world.

This year’s squad once again features big names, foremost among them Lionel Messi.

Arrived this summer after much discussion at Mauricio Pochettino’s court to form perhaps one of the strongest tridents in the history of football on paper.

Mbappè, Messi, Neymar: a trident that for characteristics and effectiveness seems to be an infallible goal machine, but due to injuries and many integration difficulties among the three talents has not happened as expected. An example? The early elimination from the Champions League in round of 16 by the hand of Real Madrid, the real target of this year.

Among the three, it is undoubtedly the Frenchman who showed himself the brightest this year, making a serious candidate for a possible Ballon d’Or winner. 

Once again Mbappè has shown that despite his young age he can be one of the successors to the Ronaldo – Messi Era.

The Parisian player has scored 35 goals in 45 games this year, 25 in Ligue 1 where he is currently top scorer, with 26 assists.

During the season he maintained a WSF Performance Index of 7.0 playing an average of 88 minutes, with only one game missed due to injury: he was practically always on the pitch and he was the team’s point of reference.

Mbappé WSF Performance Index – Season 2021/2022

In addition to the number of goals and assists, he is even the top assist man in his league (15 in total).

Another interesting statistic is his ability to serve his teammates by providing about 1.5 key passes per game.

Lionel Messi is next in line for the top assists (13) and, despite many difficulties and a season that did not live up to expectations, he still managed to make significant numbers.

Although he missed 11 games between Covid periods and injuries, he still maintained a very good standard of performance with a WSF Performance Index of 6.5.

This year, he has been more effective in serving his teammates rather than scoring: on average, only 6 goals with 1.16 shots on goal per game. 

However, he did almost two key passes per game (1.9) and 52 completed passes per match (86% of total passes), showing how much he has put himself at the service of the team.

The last of the three strikers who has had the most physical problems this season is Neymar, who has played 21 games in Ligue 1 but has scored 12 goals and given 6 assists. In the entire season he shot 2.4 times per game of which 1.3 on goal showing a good scoring ability, clearly improved from the beginning of his career.
He managed to have an average WSF Performance Index of 6.7, making the most key passes among the three players: almost 2.5 per game and an even greater number of duels won (almost 8 per game). His performances and his behavior outside the pitch does not totally satisfy the fans and the management indeed there is a strong possibility he will leave the club in the summer.

Apart from the stars who have been the most talked about, there are also other players who have contributed this year to a significant amount to the team’s successes. There are two of whom stand out: Di María and Maquinhos.

In terms of played matches and WSF Performance Index, these two players shined out the rest of the squad.

The Rosario player has played 25 games this year, 18 of which in the line up and 7 matches as a substitute, with an average of 64 minutes played due to the high competition in his position on the pitch.

However this did not stop him from performing very well: thus his presence and attitude allowed him to record a WSF Performance Index of 6.6, with only 4 goals and 6 assists.

Indeed, during the current season Pochettino often chose to use him due to his functionality in terms of playing with the other team stars and also because of his great qualities, the most important of which is passing. In the season 2021-2022, he made 5 crosses per game with 1.8 key passes and 31 completed passes out of 39 attempted.

As in the greatest teams of all, the offense is made for “show” but the defense is made for winning games: the incarnation of this concept is Marquinhos.

In the team since 2013, he has become one of the leaders of the group, always attending the matches in the starting 11 and becoming their captain.

In some recent press statements he also confirmed his desire to finish his career in Paris showing his attachment to the team.

This season he played 31 league games averaging 91 minutes per match with a WSF Performance Index of 6.6 and only 5 yellow cards in total.

His defensive focus, his good technique, that also allowed him to play a few games as a midfielder during his career, led him to be a back-up director for the whole team with 70 successful passes per game (on 74 attempted) and managing the game.

Mbappé, Marquinhos, Di María Performance – Season 2021/2022

Like every year the market rumors have already started around the team, looking for the right fit and the alchemy to aim for the only title still missing from the palmares, the Champions League.

by Giorgio Patania, Elisa Zanchetta

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