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PSG: Dembélé, caviar and nothing else?

“I like players who are ready to sacrifice themselves for the team,” Luis Enrique said a few weeks ago.

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PSG: Dembélé, caviar and nothing else?

“I like players who are ready to sacrifice themselves for the team,” Luis Enrique said a few weeks ago. Until very recently, Ousmane Dembélé did not fall into this category. No need. “The most unbalancing player in the world” according to the Spanish technician, “Dembouz” had plenty of time to play on the right, his garden, long representing the strong axis of PSG with Achraf Hakimi. “What he achieves in Paris, with great regularity, is something good,” rejoices Didier Deschamps, on TF1. A regularity that the former Rennais did not always have during his years in Barcelona. Reunion time this Wednesday (9 p.m.), during PSG-Barça.

Remember that the 26-year-old French international winger (43 caps, 5 goals) joined Paris last summer, for €50 million, the amount of his release clause. And this after five seasons in Barcelona full of ups... and many downs, particularly due to injuries. Successor to Neymar in Barcelona... and in Paris, Dembélé was spared on that side this season.

SEE ALSO – Luis Enrique: “Barça has 5 Champions Leagues, PSG zero, so the pressure is not on us”

Also read “He has a gift that others don’t have”: Lamine Yamal, the Barça nugget who would make Mbappé look like an “old guy”

This allows him to express his immense qualities. “The impression he makes on me? Very good impression. He still needs to be more efficient, he knows that. But what he does is anything but uninteresting, explains beIN SPORTS consultant Luis Fernandez, former player and coach of Paris Saint-Germain. By his availability, his races, he always manages to create gaps, danger for the opposing defenders, who must try to block him as quickly as possible, to anticipate. It's the same thing when you're facing Kylian Mbappé too, you have to be quick yourself and avoid letting them gain speed. Otherwise, they are formidable. An understatement.

Ousmane Dembélé is not only good at creating imbalance, creating danger, he panics the counters: best passer in Ligue 1, he is at the head of a capital of 13 assists in 34 matches since the start of the season. Flat ? A single “D pass” in C1. Above all, he only scored one goal.

Efficiency is the Vernon native's guilty pleasure, it's nothing new. It's even more striking this year on the banks of the Seine. It’s not for lack of trying, though. Well placed to talk about him having had him among the youngsters, in Rennes, Julien Stéphan recently gave his opinion on his former foal: “When people ask me about Ousmane, they always talk to me about his faults. I always answer on his qualities. I find him to be an exceptional player. In terms of imbalance, dribbling, the ability to create space, he is an exceptional player. If he had a higher quality of finishing, he would perhaps be Ballon d'Or today. But I see an extraordinary player with very strong qualities, which combine with those of another extraordinary player, who has other finishing qualities (Mbappé, Editor's note). This is why they are so formidable in the offensive area. They have a top-level finisher and another who is exceptionally unbalanced,” he said after PSG-Rennes (3-1), in the Coupe de France.

To return to the sacrifices that some players must make in Paris, Dembélé was recently invited to play in the center. It worked well during the return match against Real Sociedad, at Anoeta (1-2). “He’s a player technically… I would say unbeatable with both feet, but you don’t know what his best foot is. Inside, we'll see an even better version of himself. He will fix that, he will improve in terms of finishing. He scores a lot in training, he is almost unstoppable,” swears Luis Enrique.

Regarding the reason for his central positioning, the Spanish coach recently said this: “He makes the difference, whether he is in the heart of the game or on one side. But what is important for us is to know where the spaces are depending on the match and the opponent. If there is no space inside, we shift Ousmane to one side in order to create imbalance. I have this idea that when there is space in the heart of the game, it is closer to the opponent's goal. He’s a player who can score a lot of goals.” After Real, “Lucho” also indicated that this role allows “Dembouz” to create the surplus in the middle. It probably won't be luxury on Wednesday evening.

With a little extra purpose? “I don’t know if he would be Ballon d’Or, but he would be one of the greatest attackers,” deciphers Luis Fernandez, when Julien Stéphan’s assertion is put to him. He is trying to make up for this lost time but it is true that we can say that he still lacks efficiency in front of goal. Afterwards, he manages to destabilize the defenders with his style and this helps to create spaces for his teammates, who have plenty of time to finalize the actions that Dembélé can create on his side. Used in the axis too? It's surprising, but we see a player who is not destabilized by this change of position, it doesn't bother him. He listens to what the coach asks. It is the demonstration that Luis Enrique has control over his group, and also that the work is done upstream for the preparation of matches, not to mention the intelligence of the group. Dembélé's last goal dates back to November 24 against Monaco (5-2). Ex-Parisians often score against PSG. What if it worked the other way?

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