PSG’s playing style changed dramatically as of late, and not necessarily for the better…
Ever since Blanc arrived there is no proper building phase. They skip it and relentlessly attempt to find the offensive players with long balls, or simply rely on individual skills to make the difference and take opponents out of play.
It is not a pleasant sight, not at all, especially when we remember how much money is invested in this team.
PSG is also more defensive. Take newly arrived Cavani for instance, no matter how many goals he scored so far, he is much more useful to the defensive phase. We can always see him on the right side, in PSG’s own half, applying pressure when opponents try to create something. That’s a plus for Cavani, but that alone doesn’t mean he is worth 60 millions…
There are only 2 players at PSG who can be considered participants in the building process. They are fullback Maxwell and winger Lucas.
Most probably Lucas won’t be playing as Blanc will prefer both Cavani and Lavezzi at once in the lineup.
Maxwell on the left side will be the only one getting balls from defensive midfielders Motta and Verratti and try to push the play forward. When that won’t work PSG like usual will try long balls and many dribbling moves coming from Ibrahimovic.
This playing style gives PSG only one advantage: many set pieces. Most the times their long balls end up in corners and a dribbling move followed by a shoot in speed also gets deflected most the times. In fact they got to love corners (scored twice against Olympiakos from corners) and are continuously searching for them.
In the defense the usual pair Alex and Silva is out so this means Marquinhos and Camara will play once again. They were not bad the last time but there is definitely a difference in comparison with the regulars.
Even if Camara and Marquinhos have less experience they aren’t shaky players. They are willing to do whatever it takes to keep the sheet clean and prove themselves (especially young Marquinhos). This sometimes means giving in corners in order to avoid dangerous situations. PSG’s game vs Olympiakos had 11 corners in it, and 5 of them came from the Greek side. Also keep in mind that Silva was present and only Marquinhos was on the field (Camara bench).
I have only seen Benfica once this season against Sporting plus a couple of highlights from the game vs Anderlecht. What I noticed is that the central defense is not exactly wall like, as no defender is truly respecting his role.
On the other hand upfront everything looks good as they are capable of long possession, fast actions and incursions in the box thanks to short and fast passes.
PSG may very well win this game, especially with the referees pushing them from behind lately (there will be a 29 years young referee for this game; young = easy to influence) but I simply can not place a bet on them (or suggest readers to do it) with their current playing style.
Instead I am going to go for a bet that should pay without emotions, allowing me to watch the game relaxed and with a smile on.
Over 10.5 corners at the price of 1.83 is the best bet for such an encounter, in fact for any of PSG’s games against teams that can pose some danger upfront and have a somewhat loose defense.