Last year was an incredible year for Paris Saint Germain. Long the second-best women’s team in France, in the shadow of l’Olympique Lyonnais, the 2020-21 season saw them not only knock out their French rivals in the UEFA Women’s Champions League and end their quest for six consecutive cups but then go on to win the Division 1 after fourteen years of Lyon being Champions de France.
L’Olympique Lyonnais did not take this well. They recruited heavily over the summer with PSG being the number one club targeted. Starting goalkeeper Christiane Endler, often described as the best keeper in the world, danish striker Signed Bruun and defender Perle Morroni were all signed from the Parisian club.
PSG suffered further losses when defender Alana Cook and forward Nadia Nadim left the club and signed with NWSL clubs the OL Reign and Racing Louisville respectively. Brazilian legend Formiga left for São Paulo. Their captain Irene Paredes left for FC Barcelona.
Most of these players were integral to the club’s 2020-21 success. Their departures have left the team looking very different from last year. The club have added some reinforcements in Sakina Karchaoui, Estelle Cascarino, Amanda Ilestedt, Constance Picaud, Élisa De Almeida, Kheira Hamraoui and Celin Bizet Ildhusøy. However, the team’s pre-season form has not been reassuring.
They lost 0-3 to French rivals Bordeaux. They then fell 1-2 to Roma in the first round of the AMOS Women’s French Cup and got a 1-5 thrashing at the hands of Olympique Lyonnais in the Cup’s petite finale. Three of their players were away at the Olympics, only left-back Ashley Lawrence is a regular starter.
While one cannot always put too much emphasis on preseason games, the results that have come out of the team have not been good. Few would have guessed that only six weeks after French dominance, that PSG would be the ones to be dominated.
After new goalkeeper Constance Picaud’s knee injury last week, the rumour that olympic gold medalist Steph Labbé may be signed has been reassuring to the Parisian faithful. However, is it enough?
The club is currently in the United States to compete in their second pre-season exhibition tournament, The Women’s Cup. Their first match will see them face FC Bayern Munich on Wednesday. Bayern won the AMOS Women’s Cup, convincingly beating both Lyon and Roma. It will not be an easy match. Their second match next weekend will be dependent on how they perform in the first.
PSG will be hoping the return of their Olympians, and more time together as a squad, will help in the reversal of fortunes. Their supporters will surely hope so. It will be the last opportunity to get ready ahead of the club’s August 29 Division 1 opening match against Fleury 91.