Much of the praise for Paris Saint-Germain’s current success falls on their attacking players, particularly the trio of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Angel Di Maria and Edinson Cavani.
And with 48 league goals, it deservedly should. However in those 18 league matches, Laurent Blanc’s side have only conceded nine goals, boasting the league’s best defensive record.
The manager has his back five to thank for keeping some of Ligue 1’s deadliest strikers at bay, particularly some of his latest acquisitions.
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Any defence with arguably the world’s best centre-back is likely to have the league’s best defence, and PSG do in the form of Thiago Silva. A title which has been under dispute in recent seasons due to a few shaky performances in key fixtures.
Internationally things haven’t been great for the former Brazil captain. Still scapegoated by some for Brazil’s World Cup semi-final thrashing against Germany due to his absence from the side, he and Selecao did not enjoy a great Copa America either. Since their exit, Silva has not worn the famous yellow kit and been stripped of the captaincy by Dunga.
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Blanc has shown faith in the experienced defender and that trust has been rewarded in abundance with a number of resolute defensive displays. Named in the L’Equipe team of the week seven times, he has shown incredible consistency and subsequently played the most minutes in the side this season. He has truly led by example.
New man between the sticks
Laurent Blanc made the bold move in the summer not only to sign Kevin Trapp from Eintracht Frankfurt, but to slot him straight into the first team at the expense of incumbent Salvatore Sirigu.
It has clearly worked out for the best.
However, he, like many keepers has a mistake or two in him; most of his this season came in his side’s 2-2 draw with Bordeaux. The keeper was a fault for both goals - first palming Henri Saviet’s header into his own net, before having his pocket picked in his own area to leave the goal at the mercy of Wahbi Khazri.
He also spilled a speculative effort from Lyon’s Jordan Ferri, but such mistakes are quickly forgotten when your side wins 5-1.
Both Serge Aurier and Layvin Kurzawa are summer recruits from fellow Ligue 1 sides Toulouse and Monaco respectively.
Having joined on loan last season, PSG knew what they were getting from Aurier. Still, the Ivory Coast international has stepped up and he has delivered, having put pen to paper on a permanent basis.
A naturally attacking full-back, he has chipped in with four goals, his latest coming in the form of a header against Lyon. Despite his attacking inclination, he has shown defensive competence as he gains more experience.
Layvin Kurzawa will also be a familiar face to fans, having made his name with rivals Monaco last season. PSG splashed €23 million on the French full-back, who will more than likely be the future left-back for both club and country. Until then he will have to compete with Brazilian veteran Maxwell, who despite turning 34 in 2015, is still the Laurent Blanc’s left-back of choice.
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