So the 2013/14 season has come to an end, and Paris Saint-Germain are the Ligue 1 champions for a second successive season.
I’d like to say the lack of blog activity since our title win is because I’ve been on a two-week bender with Jeremy Menez, drinking pastis and partying with loose women in the Paris banlieue’s dingiest bars, but the reality is much more mundane; I’ve been busy at work.
But what a season it’s been: 84 points, 89 goals, a domestic double, a Champions League quarter-final and plenty of decent football. So without further ado I present PSG’s year in lists, 2013/14 edition.
Player of the season: Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
A few weeks back on Twitter I suggested Thiago Motta should be Ligue 1 player of the year, a view which was perhaps influenced by the fact that Ibra had been absent for a few weeks through injury. On reflection, it’s impossible not to recognise Zlatan as top dog after what has been, even by his standards, a ridiculous 2013/14 which featured 40 PSG goals in all competitions, a total which saw him surpass Carlo Bianchi’s club record for goals in a season. Shame he didn’t turn up against Chelsea in the first leg, but we’ll let him off.
Surprise of the season: Thiago Motta.
I was thinking the other day that Thiago Motta reminds me of Mike from Breaking Bad*; he’s a bit old-fashioned, and there’s nothing glamorous about him, but he just gets the job done quickly, efficiently and often violently. Constantly injured last season, the Brazilian Italian looked a spent force, but this year has been a different story. Sitting in front of the back four, Motta’s accurate passing and mopping up has kept PSG’s midfield carousel running smoothly. “He’s the fundamental basis of our team,” said Laurent Blanc this week, and who are we to argue with him.
*I’m up to season four of Breaking Bad, no spoilers please!
Flop of the season: Yohan Cabaye.
This is a harsh award given Cabaye’s lack of playing time, but there are no other obvious candidates and I can’t bring myself to nominate the soon-to-be-departed-Jezza (sob). Signed for big money at the end of the January transfer window, Cabaye has been unable to force himself into the starting XI, and when he has played has rarely looked the dynamic force he was at Newcastle. Improvement needed in 2014/15.
Always a man with an eye for an unconventional, Ibra’s back-heeled overhead flick (yes, really) was the best of a particularly delicious bunch of goals. Just watch it. Then watch it again. And again.
Poor old Bastia were on the end of two of the most remarkable goals of the season in one 90 minute match. To quote Iain McIntosh, it’s like the bit in Star Wars where the Death Star destroys Alderaan just to show it can. Cavani appeared as a second half substitute in this match, and produced a stunning dribble taking out three defenders before finishing from the narrowest of narrow angles.
Match of the season: PSG 3-1 Chelsea, 02/04/14.
Say what you like about the new PSG, but nights like the Chelsea first leg are certainly an improvement on the old days of struggling to get results against Brest or Nancy. In front of a packed and frenzied Parc des Princes, PSG took an early through the excellent Ezequiel Lavezzi, before being pegged back by Eden Hazard’s penalty. But a dominant second half performance saw a David Luiz own-goal and Javier Pastore’s stunning individual effort in stoppage time gave us a commanding lead. We won’t talk about the second leg.
Quote of the season:
“Women who talk about football tactics, it’s beautiful. I find that fantastic. And you know what a 4-3-3 is, right?” Laurent Blanc was at his Brent-ish best as he delivered this decidedly sexist line to a Swedish journalist back in December. He’s just a chilled-out entertainer.
Terrible haircut of the season: Javier Pastore.
It’s been another inconsistent season for JP, who perhaps thought imitating Ibra’s ponytail would somehow help him acquire some of his footballing powers. Needless to say it failed on every level.
Unlikely bromance of the season: Zlatan and Papus Camara.
It’s well established fact that Ibra and Maxwell are best buddies, but this season it’s seemed like Camara ia muscling in on the Brazilian’s turf. Ibra and Papus have often been photographed enjoying a laugh and a joke, which leads us nicely on to…
Stupid picture of the season:
Zlatan and Papus take a fully-clothed bath together. Ibra is playing flappy bird and Camara appears to be drinking a glass of milk. Beautiful.