‘He’s got no place at PSG’ – ‘Polluted’ Mbappe facing first real crisis of

The World Cup winner has been far from his best in recent matches, but a heavy burden of expectation and a packed schedule are doing him no favours

Paris Saint-Germain have a Kylian Mbappe problem. Actually, they have a couple.

Not only does the young forward have a contract that expires in 2022, thereby making him vulnerable to a hostile approach in the summer, but he has endured a season in which there is growing disquiet over his form.

It is a measure of just how good the World Cup winner is that a season in which he has scored 12 league goals and laid on a further five assists in Ligue 1 – 14 goals and eight assists in 22 outings overall – should be considered cause for concern, yet that is the nature of the sphere in which the Bondy native operates.

Certainly, the start he has made under Mauricio Pochettino has been less than impressive.

His role has not significantly changed, yet in the four matches he has returned just a single assist. The statistics show that nine chances have come and gone – not one has been taken.

Saturday’s outing in Angers was a particularly frustrating affair for the forward, who was visibly agitated when he left the field.

It was a match in which PSG, like Mbappe, struggled for fluidity. The striker, however, best personified this as he made poor decisions and spurned presentable opportunities, most notably when he was played through on goal only to be denied by Paul Bernardoni.

It is a period in which nothing is quite falling for him. Bernardoni’s fine save was just the latest moment in a run in which Mbappe has been the victim of marginal offside calls and has persistently been on the wrong end of the fine margins required to score a goal.

Mbappe PSG 2021

At Stade Raymond-Kopa, it appeared to be getting into his head, materialising as poor decisions or a desire to do too much in possession.

“There are times when you are fitter in front of goal and others when you are not,” Jesus Perez, standing in for the Covid-stricken Pochettino on the PSG bench at the weekend, reasoned.

“The most important thing for us remains that he fulfilled his role well, did the things he was asked to do and had opportunities. It’s just a matter of time. We must not forget that he has just played four matches in 13 days. He has played a lot of games in recent months.”

Indeed, the burden of expectation placed on Mbappe since July, when PSG finished the 2019-20 campaign with a couple of domestic cup victories, has been enormous.

“The comeback has been complicated, especially physically, because we reached the Champions League final and we hardly had any preparation. Many players tested positive for coronavirus and some went with their international teams,” he told the club’s official website shortly after the new season began.

“For me, the feeling is that I’m in the 60th game of the season and not in the ninth. We’ve had a marathon of games. Generally, when you get to a Champions [League] final, you have…

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