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September 22, 2023

What Is The Hypothesis At The Rear Of Luis Enrique’s PSG?

Written By: Abidoye Babatunde

Paris Saint-Germain have made an unbeaten start to their 2023-2024 Ligue 1 Uber Eats campaign. Luis Enrique’s arrival in the summer has spurred change in the capital, and it is not only the new signings which are helping PSG revolutionise this season. So, what exactly makes Luis Enrique’s side tick?

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It was evident from the first game of the season against Lorient: Enrique wants Paris Saint-Germain to obsessively keep possession of the ball. Only 25 minutes into his competitive tenure his players heeded his instructions (perhaps too effectively) with the Spaniard’s side counting 97% possession against Les Merlus.

Whilst PSG were kept at bay that evening, it was an opportunity to see the workings of a new tactical set-up that Enrique is endeavouring to stamp onto his side’s respective Ligue 1 Uber Eats and european campaigns. PSG have since drawn against Toulouse (1-1), and won against Lens (3-1) and Olympique Lyonnais (1-4).

4-3-3 Galore

The former Barcelona manager has brought in his staple 4-3-3 formation to PSG in pre-season, and has steadily stuck to it so far in les parisiens’ first four matches. As a loyal purveyor of a similar brand of positional play developed by the likes of Pep Guardiola, Xavi, (and to a certain extent, Roberto De Zerbi) – build up play is key. This is initiated at the back through a growing partnership in defence between new-signing Milan Skriniar and captain Marquinhos – with goalkeeper Donnarumma also involved in the fun.


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This classic possession-based system needs a holding midfielder to stitch things together in the middle of the park: Manuel Ugarte has been the perfect fit. The Uruguayan isn’t the star of the show, but has quietly been PSG’s most consistent player. Tenacity, work-rate, and the eye for good positioning and a tough tackle has quickly seen him become a popular player at the Parc des Princes. Ugarte’s presence then allows the ball-playing midfielders in the youthful Warren Zaïre-Emery and dynamic Vitinha to progress possession up the pitch to the attackers.

Big stars returning to Ligue 1 Uber Eats

Whilst the tactics are a big part of the Enrique revolution at PSG, it has also seen a change of personnel. Sporting advisor Luis Campos and president Nasser Al-Khelaifi have been working to bring a ‘French’ identity to the club – and it saw a number of Les Bleus stars brought into a PSG side with a new appeal. 

Lucas Hernandez was one of the big signings earlier in the window – his role at fullback has been indispensable so far this season. Whilst Achraf Hakimi has licence to roam further up the pitch, it is the former Bayern Munich man who drops deeper to cover: at times making PSG look like a back three in possession.

Read Also: Griezmann Tipped To Follow Messi to MLS As Three Clubs Battle For Frenchman Signature

Ousmane Dembélé has settled in well to life in the capital, and his link-up with Kylian Mbappé (whilst only for three matches) has already terrified defenders with pace and potency in attack. Poaching Bradley Barcola from Lyon has also been a move to provide a solid squad for Enrique – with the injury to Marco Asensio, we can expect more from the Frenchman in the coming weeks.

PSG had one last exciting ace up their sleeve on deadline day. Randal Kolo Muani is yet to play for les parisiens but is an enticing attacking option who can play across the front three of Enrique’s team. His signing completes an attack that heavily mirrors the future of the France national team.

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