Back-to-back defending Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain’s 2014-15 season has been characterized more by what it’s not than what it is. Despite Le Parisien having a slim one-point lead atop the league and still being alive for four trophies, the conversation surrounding PSG is often negative or, at the minimum, soap opera dramatic. “Good, not great” is no longer acceptable at Parc des Princes.
The pressure of the season and what could still lie ahead occasionally shows on the sidelines. True to form, despite claiming a crucial 3-2 Le Classique victory at rival Marseille, the lasting image of today’s game won’t be fans celebrating or Blaise’s Matuidi’s wonder goal. It will be an frustrated and offended Edinson Cavani walking away from Laurent Blanc after being subbed off after 59 minutes.
After a quiet, ineffective start, Blanc pulled the plug on Cavani and replaced him with a different controversy magnet, Ezequiel Lavezzi. Cavani reacted like a stock clerk at Foot Locker whose boss just asked him to sit through a performance review when he was ready to take his break and grab a smoke.
It’s a perfect moving portrait of the season. With a lead in the most important game of the year against a very difficult Marseille squad, the embattled coach and the unsettled, out of position, high-dollar striker were at odds. Neither man is seen as excelling at his job — Blanc gets the bulk of the blame for PSG not running away with Ligue 1, and Cavani has just eight league goals — and it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that one faults the other for his problems.
If the possibility of a quadruple in Paris eventually fizzles to nothing or only a “small” trophy, it wouldn’t be surprising to see one (or both) with another club next season. Maybe they’ll both be happier for it, and can one day reminisce and send each other that Vine for laughs.