After Mauricio Pochettino’s departure, the Paris Saint Germain announced, also on Tuesday, the chegada by Christophe Galtier. The coach is the record holder for games on the sidelines with Saint-Étienne, he won the French Championship 2020/21 by Lille and usually opts for a 4-4-2, favoring the offensive game.
The new PSG boss hung up his boots in 1999 after defending relevant French teams such as Lille and Olympique de Marseille, club where he became assistant coach shortly after retirement. For the team, by the way, he worked with Abel Braga.
After ten years as an assistant, Galtier finally became coach in December 2009, when he took over Saint-Étienne. He stayed with the team until the end of the 2016/17 season and was on the sidelines in 361 opportunities.
Galtier saved Saint-Étienne from relegation in his first season and, in the following seasons, he occupied the top half of the table, reaching fourth position in 2013/14. The coach also won the 2012/13 French League Cup, the club’s first title in 32 years and which guaranteed a place in the Europa League.
🇫🇷Christophe Galtier, the new PSG coach, in his coaching career
◉ 556 games
◉ 265V | 138E | 162D
◉ 798 goals for
◉ 606 goals conceded
▸ French champion for Lille on 20/21
▸ Manager with most appearances for Saint-Étienne (361)
Will you do well in Paris? pic.twitter.com/Tc2pLml9iY
— Footstats I2A (@Footstats) July 5, 2022
With Lille, the club he took over in December 2017, Galtier won the great title of his career: the 2020/21 French Championship, beating PSG. However, even in the 2018/19 season, he had already shown potential: he finished second in Ligue 1 and thus secured a spot in the Champions League 2019/20 (dropped in the group stage). With his good performance, he was elected by the magazine France Football the best coach in the country in 2019 and 2021.
In 2021, Galtier signed with Nice and finished in 5th place in the last edition of the national tournament. In the same season, the team reached the final of the Coupe de France, but was surpassed by Nantes 1-0 in the final.
Both in Lille and Nice, Galtier mostly opted for the 4-4-2, with many attacks on the flanks and offensive players closing towards the center of the field.
In the case of PSG, the coach has two great options for the wings: Nuno Mendes and Achraf Hakimi. The first, on the left, and the second, on the right, are fast, technical and have good dribbling skills. These characteristics become fundamental to building attacks.
While full-backs stay wide open and advance sharply, wingers and forwards tend to stay in the center aisle. Closer, they build tables with short passes and attract the markers, usually freeing up space for the aforementioned sides. This type of move should bear great fruit for PSG, given the gigantic technical quality of Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi.
However, the attacking quartet also falls along the sides of the field at opportune moments. This can happen, for example, when a full-back has attracted his marker and thus left space for another teammate.
If he opts for the 4-4-2 at PSG, Galtier can start Neymar on the left, Mauro Icardi and Mbappé in the middle and Messi on the right. The only doubt is related to the Argentine striker, who is not experiencing a great phase in French football. If he stays on the bench, the Brazilian can play more advanced and floating, giving space to another midfielder (like Julian Draxler, for example).
Still in relation to central strikers: in his last clubs, Galtier had more “classic” strikers, who were pivotal and attracted opposing defenders. At PSG, however, attacking stars do not have this characteristic. With that, it would be necessary to either select Icardi, looking to resume his good phase, or change the tactical scheme or hire a player for this role.
Finally, in terms of marking, Galtier usually exerts pressure on the offensive field. Thus, players surround the opponent in the sector where the ball is to regain possession as soon as possible. With that, the defense acts in high lines and leaves a lot of free space on their back (which shouldn’t be a big problem, since Marquinhos and Kimpembe are fast).
Given all that has been exposed, a possible Paris Saint-Germain by Christophe Galtier could be cast with: Donnarumma; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe (Ramos) and Mendes; Paredes and Verratti; Messi, Mbappé, Icardi (Draxler) and Neymar.