A fan's view: Champions of France!
American Paris Saint-Germain fan Ed, of PSGtalk.com, talked us through the emotions of a title winning season from a supporter's perspective.
"On Sunday, I celebrated Paris Saint-Germain winning an incredible eighth league title against Monaco. As a fan, winning championships never gets old. I love the pageantry of a trophy celebration and the look of pure joy on the player’s faces as they dance around the stadium and present the silverware to their adoring fans. It’s why we as fans watch the game and why the players work so hard in training throughout the year!
Ed's reaction to the final whistle last night:
FT 3-1 #PSGASM Mbappe with the hat trick against his old club and the result was never in doubt. Paris can now finally celebrate their eighth Ligue 1 title. ALLEZ PARIS!— PSG Talk (@PSGTalk) April 21, 2019
You also don’t have to go back that far in PSG’s history to find a time when winning the league was anything but an expectation. We are living in an unprecedented era of domination where Paris Saint-Germain are kings of France and we should enjoy every minute of it.
The 2018-19 campaign could best be described as a season in transition and the Ligue 1 title feels especially triumphant when you consider the obstacles PSG had to overcome. In Thomas Tuchel’s opening act as manager, he has rarely tasted defeat and 84 points from 33 games is testament to that. Along the way, he identified several youth academy graduates capable of contributing on a regular basis, revitalized the career of Juan Bernat, and perhaps most important, became a respected member of the team in a locker room full of stars. He did all of this with several of his first-team players missing time at the start of the season due to the FIFA World Cup last summer.
Despite the challenges, we went on to win their first 13 Ligue 1 games of the season before drawing against Bordeaux in early December. It was an incredible run of form and fans were treated to attractive, free-flowing football and a plethora of goals. The Classique on October 28, 2018, stands out as one of the most memorable moments from the first half of the season. In enemy territory, PSG withstood the hostile atmosphere and escaped with a 2-0 win over their rivals. Fan clubs around the United States celebrated goals from Julian Draxler and Mbappé but it was youngster Stanley N’Soki who impressed me with his fearless attitude not typically found in a 19-year-old.
I was also impressed by the performance of Mbappé against Olympique Lyonnais at the Parc des Princes last October. The game as a whole had a little bit of everything. Neymar opened up the scoring in the first 10 minutes and then two red cards (one for each team) created enough space on the pitch for the young Frenchman to take over. Mbappé went on to score four goals in the span of 13 minutes and proved that his unprecedented form at the World Cup was not a fluke and that he is in fact one of the best footballers in the world.
These are just two standout performances from this historic season but we saw flashes of brilliance from Tuchel’s squad throughout the year. The building blocks the German has laid down will prove to be invaluable as we look forward to the seasons to come.
Why am I so optimistic? Well, Tuchel managed to win Ligue 1 and still has a Coupe de France final this weekend where Paris Saint-Germain will be the favorites to lift the cup. He won the league while improving the team’s overall performance in the Champions League in just his first season. He has moulded PSG into a lethal, attack-minded team so that Mbappé—who leads Ligue 1 in scoring by a healthy margin—and Neymar can display their full array of talents. What I appreciate most though is how fluid his tactics are. Tuchel isn’t afraid to move a player out of his natural position if it makes the team better and is perfectly comfortable changing his formation in-game if that’s what’s needed. He is an expert at combining young, raw talent with world-class players and making it all work seamlessly.
If I were to give Tuchel a grade for his first season in the French capital, he would receive an A. He has has amazing success in this campaign but is building for the future as well. I fully expect Colin Dagba, Moussa Diaby, and N’Soki to feature prominently next season and I’m not sure those players would be this far along under a different manager as we have seen in many other big European teams. My fellow American Timothy Weah is another player I think will return to Paris after his loan spell and contribute and attract more fans in the United States towards le Rouge et Bleu.
I began following PSG in 2014 and started covering the team for PSG Talk in 2015. Since then, I have seen a number of trophy celebrations and each one is special and tells a unique story. Ligue 1 is an extremely physical league with young talent all around the country. Winning by the margin PSG did shouldn’t happen, but it did and that’s a testament to the quality of the manager and players.
With a full season nearly in the books and the summer transfer window on the horizon, I feel confident in saying the future is bright in the City of Lights."
Want to join the conversation with other Paris Saint-Germain fans around the world? You can find Ed's PSG Talk website, social channels and podcast links below: