It’s Arsenal vs PSG Feminines this Saturday in the Women’s Champions League quarter-final and it should be an open game between two attack-minded teams with plenty of goals.
Arsenal vs PSG Feminines: Changes during the transfer window
PSG will be a slightly different team from the one that we would have played in March before the pandemic stopped all football.
They lost four players in Hannah Glas, Eve Perisset, Katarzyna Kiedrzynek and Lina Boussaha.
Their sporting director Bruno Cheyrou moved away to take over the men’s job at Lyon, taking with him two talented youngsters in Vicky Becho and Alice Sombath. They also lost a few more youngsters to other teams.
Three players, however, have arrived.
Right-back Benedicte Simon, from Stade de Reims, who comes in to replace two quality players in Glas and Perisset.
Goalkeeper Charlotte Voll, from SC Sand. She used to be PSG’s number three keeper for a while and returned home to Germany. She is now the understudy to Christiane Endler.
PSG have also signed Ramona Bachmann from Chelsea. The Swiss forward is well known to Arsenal fans and players as she was part of the Umea squad that was defeated when the Gunners triumphed in the UEFA Women’s Cup back in 2006/07.
On the positive side, they have welcomed back Sara Däbritz, their German playmaker, who did her ACL last December, but she is still short of match fitness to do the full 90 minutes.
PSG Feminines full squad:
- GK: Endler (Chile), Voll (Germany), Criscione (USA), Pinguet
- DF: Dudek (Poland), Cook (USA), Paredes (Spain), Morroni, Simon, Lawrence (Canada)
- MF: Formiga (Brazil), Luana (Brazil), Geyoro, Däbritz, Khelifi, Saevik (Norway), Baltimore
- FW: Nadim (Danemark), Katoto, Diani, Huitema (Canada), Bachmann (Switzerland), Brunn (Danemark)
PSG Feminines strength and weaknesses
PSG have many strong individuals in key positions.
Endler in goal, Paredes at centre-back, Formiga-Geyoro as a double pivot in central midfield, Diani on either wing, Katoto up front. Those individual players can win games for PSG and have done it in the past.
They also have a really strong bench that can turn the game upside down with five substitutions available.
If we look at the French Cup final played a week ago, PSG sent on as subs: Däbritz, Nadim, Bruun, Bachmann, Khelifi and still had Cook, Luana and Saevik available.
Defensively, the second centre-back alongside Paredes, Dudek or Cook, is not as strong as the PSG captain. The right-back position can be occupied by Lawrence, who has not been impressive in French Cup games or newcomer Benedicte Simon, who has limited experience at the highest level if none.
Tracking back is also not the strongest suit of many PSG forwards at times and the Arsenal attacking full-backs should enjoy 2v1 situations against the PSG full-backs during the game.
PSG Feminines tactical set-up
Olivier Echouafni has used the 4-4-2 classic system with two 6s and two wingers.
He can switch to 4-3-3 whenever needed when subs are coming on, moving to one 6 and two 8s, or the vintage 80’s midfield three with a 6-8-10.
The former France manager has multiple options in midfield and attack but fewer in defence and is likely to play this starting 11:
Endler; Lawrence or Simon, Paredes, Dudek or Cook, Morroni; Diani, Formiga, Geyoro, Baltimore or Nadim or Saevik; Katoto, Huitema.
Arsenal will have to be at their best to go through on Saturday, especially in defensive transitions as PSG have a lot of pace in attack and we have seen in the past that our defence struggled against Chelsea’s forwards, for example.