Zlatan Ibrahimovic had missed the last two league matches for Paris Saint-Germain, suspended after inadvertently karate kicking an opposing goalkeeper (Ibrahimovic’s world: Where martial arts just happen). During that time, PSG took one point from two, embarrassingly losing at home last week despite their opponents playing with only nine men.
On Saturday, Ibrahimovic returned in a big way, leading PSG to a 4-0 win over Troyes in which he engineered all of the goals:
- In the 17th minute, Ibrahimovic worked the ball along the right byline before putting a pass into a crowded six-yard box. The fell to Maxwell who punched home his second goal of the season.
- In the 63rd minute, ‘Ibra’ carried a ball from the center line to just outside the Troyes penalty area before poking a ball past the defense for Blaise Matuidi, who finished high into the right of goal to make it 2-0.
- In the 70th minute, and almost identically setup goal saw Ibrahimovic on the end of a Nene pass, Zlatan finishing with his left into the upper 90 to make it 3-0.
- And in the 89th minute, Ibrahimovic swept home a goal with his right after Ezequiel Lavezzi did the dirty work ahead of a cross.
Ibra is up to 12 goals and five assists in Ligue 1. Add in his Champions League performance (where he’s already accumulated a four-assist game) and Zlatan has 14 goals and 10 assists this season.
As nice as Radamal Falcao and Edinson Cavani are, I think we know the answer to this question.
Unfortunately for PSG, Zlatan’s been the only part of their attack that’s worked. He’s been involved in 17 of their 23 league goals. Only two goals scored while Ibrahimovic has actually been on the field have not been either setup or scored by him.
If he continues accruing numbers at this rate and plays all of PSG’s remaining Ligue 1 games, he’ll finish the French season with 38 goals and 16 assists.
And if the numbers aren’t sufficiently impressive, here’s Ibrahimovic’s first Saturday goal:
In some ways, all managers are the same: intelligent football men messing around with the puzzle that is winning matches.
But to listen to Jurgen Klopp’s introductory press conference is to get a different view. While some managers sound like they create the puzzles, or even create the game itself, Klopp speaks of the challenge with reverence.
[ MORE: Klopp unveiled as “the Normal One” ]
In other words, it seems unlikely we will be hearing him utter phrases designed at painting himself as a Picasso of the pitch, rather that of a museum curator.
For example, here’s the new Liverpool boss on the club’s history.
From JPW on Merseyside:
“Twenty-five years ago [since the last league title] is a long time,” Klopp said. “History is only the base for us, [we shouldn’t] keep the history in our backpack all day. I want to see the first step next week and not always compare with other times. This is a great club with big potential. Everything is there. Let’s try to start a new way. Everything is different – I don’t know it all but I’m a pretty good listener.”
The “normal one” speaks like an honor student, not the know-it-all professor demanding students regurgitate facts from the book he wrote and tossed on the syllabus.
And perhaps this is the manner in which the Reds will add a new, positive chapter to their storied history.
Broadcaster and New York soccer hero Shep Messing caused quite a stir with his comments during the Red Bulls/Impact match on Wednesday, and those words have cause plenty of reaction in MLS.
If you missed it, Messing claims that New York City FC is ready to move on from Jason Kreis after just one season, and that Seattle coach Sigi Schmid is set to swap jobs with the NYC boss.
Messing also claims that Caleb Porter could end his disappointing run in Portland to head back to college soccer.
Kreis and Schmid disagree. The latter says he loves the Sounders and is committed to bringing an MLS Cup to Seattle. Kreis was just flabbergasted.
“I was watching the game last night, and it caught me completely by surprise. I thought that was an absolutely ludicrous statement and unfounded,” Kreis said after training Thursday. “I have no knowledge of that information at all, and I kind of scratch my head because at the end of the day I’m very happy here.”
So is there any truth here? The Porter part makes sense, especially if the Timbers fail to make the postseason again and the brash coach wishes to go back to a place where he’s had success.
As for Schmid and Kreis, that’s a curious one. Maybe NYC’s star studded roster would like a change, and Schmid has more success with big egos. And Kreis would thrive just about anywhere, but why would NYC ditch a man who built this from scratch? They’ve invested so much in the ex-RSL legend.