Spectre of Messi hangs over same old PSG

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There's a video doing the rounds on social media that sums up Paris Saint-Germain this season.

In fact, most seasons.

It's from Wednesday night's Champions League group-stage game with RB Leipzig, in which Mauricio Pochettino's side were held to a draw by a late Dominik Szoboszlai equaliser.

In the clip, Mohamed Simakan advances up the pitch with the ball.

Angel Di Maria is trying in vain to conduct some sort of aggressive press, tearing after the ball after it gets funnelled across the pitch.

It's then that Neymar comes into focus.

The Brazilian is bending down to adjust his boot, standing stock still and letting Simakan slide a ball freely into midfield.

Neymar's pathetic effort to block the pass via an outstretched leg shows how much he is bothered about contributing defensively to his team.

Kylian Mbappe doesn't escape blame from this horror show either, meandering around in a central position doing precisely nothing to stop Leipzig from playing.

And all this is without Lionel Messi - hardly the world's best presser either - not even on the pitch.

Poor old Pochettino.

This is a coach who was famed for making his old Tottenham Hotspur team run through brick walls, hassling and suffocating the opposition when they had the ball.

Does he ask his stars to press? Do they not listen? Is he made to play them in fear of a riot from upstairs if he doesn't?

Whatever the case, it looks like the Argentinian is caught between two stones.

PSG and Pochettino's dilemma

He can't play the way he wants to with these forwards, yet he can't drop them because of who they are.

And it's harming his team.

Their draw last night in Germany was the latest stumble on a season increasingly full of them.

A draw with Marseille in Le Classique, a Ligue 1 loss to Rennes, and further back a defeat to Lille in the Trophee des Champions are results that have spread some doubt among the squad.

And their Champions League hopes aren't exactly rosy either.

PSG travel to Manchester City on their next matchday, and if they lose there - and Club Brugge beat Leipzig - there will be an unexpected showdown between the Parisians and Brugge on the final matchday to decide who takes the second qualification spot.

Hanging over all this is the spectre of Messi.

The little maestro has been anything but his usual self this season so far, looking as lost on the pitch as he admits he has felt off it.

The culture shock of moving to Paris has seemed to have affected the 34-year-old and his family more than he expected, and it is a far cry from the relatively quiet life he lived in Casteldefells, just south of Barcelona and a short drive from his old training ground.

It's clear Messi is already having second thoughts about his move, and the longer he is in an unhappy frame of mind, the longer his performances - and those of the team - will suffer.

Injuries haven't helped, but perhaps those are symbolic of a man tense about his life, and his next move.

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