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PSG are favourites for Champions League after group stage

When Paris Saint-Germain arrived in Glasgow in September, they were third favourites for the Champions League. 

You cannot simply buy the European title, or so went popular wisdom. What followed that night at Celtic Park changed such foresight. 

A 5-0 scoreline actually flattered the hosts. PSG were irresistible, inflicting Celtic’s biggest home defeat in 112 years.

PSG thrashed Celtic 7-1 at home to maintain their ubeaten start in the Champions League

Fast forward to matchday five and the Parisians are still setting records, Celtic once again their helpless victims.

In the process of handing down a 7-1 thrashing on Wednesday, PSG took their group-stage goals tally to 24, beating the previous best of 21 achieved by Borussia Dortmund. 

And to think, there is still another 90 minutes to better their total.

While their goals column has gone up and up, their odds for the continental crown have tumbled.

Today, they are the 7/2 favourites to emerge victorious in Kiev next May. With that comes pressure, but so it should.

Neymar helped PSG break the record for the most goals scored in the group stages, 24

Neymar helped PSG break the record for the most goals scored in the group stages, 24

PSG’s starting XI plus substitutes cost in excess of £700million to assemble, the most gilded team in football history. 

Given their domestic title is a gimme – they are six points clear after 13 matches – it is the Champions League where they will be judged.

Boss Unai Emery simply must return the game’s most coveted prize if he is to stay in employment beyond this season.

If that all sounds a little bit Real Madrid, then so be it. You cannot spend £198million on Neymar and £166m on Kylian Mbappe and justify their existence by running away with Ligue 1. 

PSG's squad costs £700million to assemble, starman Neymar alone cost £198million

PSG’s squad costs £700million to assemble, starman Neymar alone cost £198million

Teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe costs £166m and has formed a frightening PSG front line 

Teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe costs £166m and has formed a frightening PSG front line 

PSG’S GROUP STAGE RECORD:  

12/09/2017- Celtic 0-5 PSG

27/09/2017- PSG 3-0 Bayern

18/10/2017- Anderlecht 0-4 PSG

31/10/2017- PSG 5-0 Anderlecht

22/11/2017- PSG 7-1 Celtic 

These players were brought in to take PSG to the next level, and that means returning their first Champions League title. And, after that, winning another.

On the evidence of this season, they are certainly capable. They have set the standard so far, not to mention those records.

Bayern Munich were one of two teams – holders Real Madrid the other – whose odds were shorter than PSG ahead of matchday one. 

Bayern, however, were swept aside at the Parc des Princes later that month in what was a comprehensive 3-0 victory.

And, were Real to face the French side tomorrow, your money would not rest with the Spaniards, who will finish second to Spurs in their group. 

Boss Unai Emery must win the Champions League if he wants to keep his job in Paris 

Boss Unai Emery must win the Champions League if he wants to keep his job in Paris 

Indeed, it is perhaps only Manchester City who could challenge PSG on current form.

Edinson Cavani was the forgotten man amid all of the summer fanfare of Neymar of Mbappe. He, though, has scored 21 times already this term.

In midfield, too, they already boasted talents such as Adrien Rabiot, a 22-year-old academy graduate whose effortless class won him a standing ovation from the home supporters in Glasgow. 

Forget the headliners, Rabiot is the player who could prove the real difference. At such a tender age and a native of Paris, he could underpin what threatens to be a decade of dominance in the French capital.

Academy graduate Adrien Rabiot has been the unsung hero of the team this season

Academy graduate Adrien Rabiot has been the unsung hero of the team this season

Edinson Cavani was the forgotten man amid all of the summer fanfare but has scored 21 goals

Edinson Cavani was the forgotten man amid all of the summer fanfare but has scored 21 goals

The one concern is Neymar, who is reportedly unhappy and has been linked with a move to Real Madrid. 

His performances on the pitch would suggest otherwise – 13 goals from 14 starts – and he was so sick of that line of questioning after Wednesday’s game that he screeched, ‘For f***’s sake! Have you got nothing else to talk about?’ before storming away from journalists.

As long as he is leaving defenders in his wake then supporters of PSG won’t lose too much sleep, especially as the Brazilian forward has fiercely denied claims of a fallout between him and coach Emery.

Emery's side are now down to 7/2 to win the Champions League in Kiev next May

Emery’s side are now down to 7/2 to win the Champions League in Kiev next May

Neymar was moved to tears during a press conference while on international duty last week when talk turned to his alleged regret over his decision to quit Barcelona for PSG.

And given that his response was two goals against Celtic, it would appear he prefers to do his talking on the pitch right now, where he and PSG are certainly making a racket.

They have quality in every position, and in reserve, too. 

To watch them is a joy, even for Celtic followers. This is the emergence of a new European superpower. If anything, those odds of 7/2 look rather generous.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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