Neymar can't carry hapless PSG without Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe in heavy loss to Monaco – CBS Sports

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Paris Saint-Germain completed their disastrous preparation for Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League clash with Bayern Munich (catch the action on Paramount+) by losing 3-1 away at AS Monaco in Ligue 1 on Saturday. Christophe Galtier’s men were missing injured superstar pair Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi as well as creative hub Marco Verratti in midfield.
PSG were also hit by illness in the build-up to their Stade Louis II visit yet they were still able to send out an XI featuring the likes of Neymar and captain Marquinhos. Despite the presence of the most expensive soccer player of all-time, Monegasque goalkeeper Alexander Nubel enjoyed a quiet afternoon in the principality. PSG created only seven total shots for an expected goal total of only 1.11. Monaco meanwhile took 19 shots for an eye-popping xG total of 3.10.
This was always going to be a tough game for PSG considering the injuries and illness within the squad but to put forward such a poor performance is majorly concerning pre-Bayern. Two shots on target all afternoon with one of those being wonderkid Warren Zaire Emery’s second goal from three Ligue 1 outings was not nearly good enough from Galtier’s troops.
Not when Neymar, Hugo EkitikeCarlos Soler, and Vitinha are on the field — attack-minded players who could still start for some of the best teams in Europe. In fact, had Gianluigi Donnarumma not been so sharp between the sticks, it would have been much more than the three that Monaco plundered.
9 – Wissam Ben Yedder has scored nine goals against Paris in all comps, more than any other player against PSG under Qatari ownership. Persecutor. #ASMPSG
“Absences should not be an excuse for us,” said the Italy international post-game. “We had a horrible game and I apologize to the fans. We wanted to get ourselves going again but we are going through a difficult period. Tuesday’s game is very important. We must get our heads down and work a lot over the next few days. We must focus on Bayern Munich now.”
Aleksandr Golovin needed just four minutes to break the deadlock after being teed up by Wissam Ben Yedder who then added the next two himself with Eliesse Ben Seghir assisting his second. Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe’s injuries are absolutely worrying for PSG but Neymar’s decline and current apathetic showings are arguably most concerning.
“I am furious as our start to the game was catastrophic,” said Galtier. “Our goal gave us hope, but they quickly scored a third. Of course, there is anger. We are doing with what we have which is strange as we are PSG. That is how the squad is right now. We will not hide behind that, though. Some players were ill today, or tired, and one even had to be removed from the team sheet. It is a tough time for everyone — the players and the fans.”
PSG losses:

2022 – 4
2023 – 4

It’s only February. 😳
Logically, when you boast three of the soccer world’s top stars, at least one should be able to step up in the absence of one or two of the trio. Messi and Mbappe have shown their ability to contribute when Neymar has been unavailable or out of form but the same cannot be said of the Brazilian who sank without trace here.
There are availability, form, and tactical concerns in each outfield position heading into the Bayern showdown and it feels like the defense could be on the mend after Presnel Kimpembe returned. Yet the drop-off from pre-FIFA 2022 World Cup PSG has still been astonishing even by the French champions’ unrivalled ability to self-destruct at any given moment.
“Results are negative, but it is not a crisis,” said Kimpembe after the game. “The season is long and not yet over. We know that results are not good enough of late. We must wake up and do what it takes to get good performances going once more. It is a bad phase, but we have to show responsibility. The time for talking is over, now we must act. You cannot just throw six months of good form in the bin. Speaking with the fans was necessary as it is tough for them too. We know that they support us and pay to follow us away from home. The least we can do is go over to see them.”
2 – At #ASMPSG, Paris have been two goals down before the 20th minute of play for only the second time in the last 11 Ligue 1 seasons, after February 2022 in Nantes (0-2 after 16 minutes). Surprised.
The team is unrecognizable from the one which sent off a large contingent to Qatar and Les Parisiens struggle even with Messi and Mbappe on the field right now. To be in a position where PSG desperately need even a half fit Messi or Mbappe to potentially save them from elimination at the hands of Bayern was unthinkable when the draw was made.
Yet here we are heading into the resumption of the Champions League and the Ligue 1 leaders are well and truly bent out of shape with Neymar the poster boy of the World Cup hangover. Skipper Marquinhos is not much better with PSG trying to tie him down to a new contract while his form remains highly questionable.
Expect PSG to raise their game against Bayern given what is at stake and the over emphasis on European success in the French capital. Anything will look better than the 90 minutes Galtier’s side produced in Monaco this weekend, though, which is unlikely to be enough to avoid defeat to the German juggernaut.
Four defeats and one draw already in 2023 makes for sobering reading from a PSG point of view and there is no guarantee that their poor form will end here. Bayern warmed up for this one with a 3-0 win over VfL Bochum and come into the clash looking stronger than when the draw was made despite Sadio Mane’s absence through injury.
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