When the draws for the quarter finals came out and Paris Saint -Germain were drawn with Barcelona, all eyes turned towards a Zlatan Ibrahimović return. The Swede was expected to lead the side from the French side hoping to overcome Barcelona. In the first leg though the striker did end up scoring and provinding an assist for the Parisians, it was an average performance over the course of 90 minutes. From an attacking perspective, there was one player though, who shone the most during the game for the French side, and was a constant threat to the Catalonia outfit. His name was Lucas Moura.
The Brazilian attacker signed for PSG at the start of the season but only joined the club in January, as per the agreement. He was signed for more than €40 million and was close to joining Manchester United as well. There were a few eyebrows raised when the deal was announced, as the price tag seemed way too high for a 21 year old who had no experience of European football. He has yet to score for his new club but has managed 4 assists in 11 appearances in all competitions.
In the first leg of the tie, Moura threatened with his pace on the counter. The fact that Jordi Alba likes to venture forward was taken advantage of by the Brazilian. The 20 year old Brazilian got behind him, and looked to exploit that area. David Beckham when on the ball would constantly look to find Moura in space so that he could run at the defence. Moura’s strengths lie in taking players on and beating them and he managed to cause a lot of trouble in the Barcelona defence, who were easily rattled. In fact in the early parts of the game, Moura was overshadowing not only his team mate Ibrahimovic but also the arguably the world’s best player Lionel Messi.
Barcelona will be without Javier Mascherano as the Argentine suffered an injury that has ruled him out of the second leg and that could leave their defense vulnerable with either Sergio Busquets or Alex Song fitting in alongside Gerard Pique.
The fact that the Brazilian is tricky and fast could also help the visitors win free kicks in dangerous areas and with free kick specialists like Ibrahimovic and Beckham lining it up, it could spell danger for the home side. Barcelona are known to be weak in defending set pieces and given that their defense is depleted, it could spell danger for them.
When speaking of the Camp Nou, what immediately springs to mind is the size of the pitch which naturally benefits Barcelona's possession style of football. Ancelotti could actually look to use this to his advantage as Moura would have more space to run into and trouble the opposition's defense. The key for PSG would be to try and catch Barcelona out early by getting the ball to the tricky forward as soon as possible.
The problem with Moura lies in the fact that he is yet to score and he isn’t one of the best finishers in the game. Also at the age of 20, Moura’s inexperience could hurt PSG initially, especially till Moura gets acclimatized to the atmosphere of the Camp Nou, something that the young Milan forward, Niang found hard to do last month when he featured at the intimidating areana. However, the 20 year old will be key to all the counter-attacks that PSG will launch and he has shown that he is a star for the future. Tonight he has the opportunity to worry this Barcelona defence and enhance his reputation in Europe.