Choupo-Moting….

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It might be advisable for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (£0.30) to spend the next three months in hibernation.

He should have hit the headlines on Sunday as the man to score the goals to carry PSG to the Ligue 1 title; instead, he is set to be remembered for one of the all-time most incredible misses.

The former Stoke striker had bundled Paris Saint-Germain into the lead against Strasbourg, propelling the capital side to the brink of securing back-to-back league titles. All they needed to do was hold out.

Racing hit back thanks to some sloppy defending that was not on Choupo-Moting’s shoulders, yet later in the first half he contrived to produce an incredible miss that had to be seen to be believed. When attempting to turn home a goal-bound Christopher Nkunku (£0.71) chip from literally on the goal line, he somehow simultaneous stopped the ball’s forward momentum and sent it spinning onto the post. He had achieved the apparently impossible.

So bad was the miss, which was symbolic of PSG’s failure to seal the title at the weekend, the image of the forward’s mishap appears on the front page of L’Equipe following what transpired to be a 2-2 draw.

Kylian Mbappe (£5.50), who had felt muscular pain in the build up to the game, was left looking on in stunned disbelief from the bench.

When the France international replaced his Cameroonian team-mate in the second half with jeers ringing around Parc des Princes, Choupo-Moting’s credibility, which had been hanging by a thread, had gone.

And yet, the 30-year-old sums up much about this PSG side, which was put together in an ill-conceived, disjointed and hurried manner last summer after endless weeks of speculation and dithering.

Scratch beyond the surface of Neymar (£8.01), Edinson Cavani (£0.60) and Mbappe, and the depth is painfully thin.

Defenders Dani Alves (£0.38), Juan Bernat (£0.44) and Marquinhos (£1.12) have been forced regularly to play midfield in recent months due to the lack of balance in the squad, which has an outrageous overabundance of defenders but a lack of cover nearly everywhere else, particularly in the wake of Adrien Rabiot’s (£1.10) fall out with the club hierarchy.

Indeed, had Tuchel’s side wrapped the title up on Sunday with a record-equalling eight matches remaining, it would have spoke volumes about the mediocrity achieved on a regular basis by France’s other traditional giants.

In a way, it would have been fitting for the title to have been claimed on a weekend when Lyon lost at home to a Dijon side apparently heading for Ligue 2, Marseille slumped to a defeat against a hapless Bordeaux, and Monaco, who have factored prominently in the relegation battle, required a last-gasp equaliser against bottom side Guingamp to salvage a point.

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About Author

A football journalist specialising in the French and Scottish game, Robin has been writing professionally for over a decade. His career highlights include attending World Cups in Brazil and Russia, and Euro 2016 in France.

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