2017 has been a year of ups and downs in Paris. From beating Barca 4-0 at the Parc, to bowing it a couple of weeks later; losing their grip of Ligue 1, to ending the year with a nine-point lead; and of course a year defined by big summer signings.
Below I take a look back at an eventful year which has sent us Parisiens on an emotional rollercoaster…
PSG 4-0 Barcelona
Valentines day at the Parc has to be the stand out performance of the year, despite being considerably overshadowed by the shambolic display in the reverse fixture. Emery’s men were far superior in every department that night and showed Barcelona – the team that every European side aspired to be like – were vincible.
Di Maria’s free kick got the ball rolling and the goals seemed to just continue to fly in. Draxler was next to beat a hopeless ter Stegen and when Cavani rounded it all off… Goosebumps.
3 August 2017 – The day he arrived..!
The date Neymar became the most expensive footballer in history. After weeks – which felt more like months – the most tedious transfer saga of my recollection came to a close, and I still couldn’t quite come to gripes with the fact that Neymar had joined my team, for a staggering £200 million!
The lack of sleep that night and sitting around waiting for that first press conference like a kid the day later will be memories from 2017 that will last me a lifetime.
The other major summer signing, Kylian Mbappe, on deadline day was another stellar signing and both have shone together with their goals and attacking flair.
The first half of the season
Neymar has hit the ground running in 2017 too, registering a goal every 114 minutes in Ligue 1, with 11 goals and 9 assists thus far in the league. Emery’s men lead the way in France – losing just once – and hold a nine-point lead over reigning champions Monaco and Lyon respectably.
The Champions League campaign has been just as successful as well. The free-scoring Parisiens smashed the previous record of 21 goals set by Borussia Dortmund when scoring 25 across the six games. Despite the disappointing 3-1 collapse against Bayern in the final gameweek, PSG finished top of Group B and will fancy their chances against Real Madrid in the new year.
Losing control of Ligue 1
Despite winning all domestic cup competition up for graps in 2017, the massive failure was of course failing to regain the league title. Emery’s men were considerably outplayed by Monaco throughout their 2016/17 campaign, finishing eight points behind the eventual runaway leaders and recording five losses along the way.
Unai Emery was lucky to keep his job after his teams under par league performance but has been able to turn around his fortunes since then; despite the ongoing rumours surrounding his job security if he is not able to at least make it to the semi finals of the Champions League and regain the French crown this time around.
Emery’s men have been on fire on the pitch for the best part of the year – but that has not come without controversy off of it. The most notable bit of controversy was between star striker Edinson Cavani and Neymar. Bad blood spilled over with the debate of who should be the penalty taker in the capital, and it wasn’t surprising when you have so many big names in the dressing room that something would boil over.
Man management has also been a problem. Players like Hatem Ben Arfa and Lucas Moura have been put to one side and haven’t had a look in all season, or all year round in Ben Arfa’s case. Emery was also criticised for not giving young players a chance in the first team, but recently Goncalo Guedes has been shining out on loan with Valencia and Lo Celso has embraced his chance in the Starting XI.
Barcelona 6-1 PSG – La Remontada
Of course it’s impossible to look past the collapse at the Camp Nou in a review of 2017 regarding PSG. It doesn’t get much worse in football than going from such a high of 4-0 up in the first leg to completely blowing it on the biggest stage, it was utterly embarrassing.
The whole team collapsed. Edinson Cavani was the only player who lived up to his reputation. When his goal went in you could finally relax as a PSG supporter but only to witness one of the craziest comebacks in football. I don’t think I speak alone when I say I was utterly heartbroken – and it was by far the biggest low of 2017.
In some people’s eyes 2017 may be one of the more underwhelming years in recent memory whereas in others the second half of year may have made up for the misadventures of the first. However in my eyes 2017 has thrown up many highs and lows but I think 2017 will be know as a capitalist for change in Paris for years to come.