UCL Ro16 2020/21 | Barcelona Vs PSG

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Post by futbol_bill Sat Mar 13, 2021 1:25 pm

Thimmy can dish out the criticism but doesn’t like anyone poking holes in his rationale. If he was taking about overhyping (most probably by Sports, Farfan), the answer is maybe somewhat, but nothing like the Pogba hype!

Thimmy’s issue is specifically that Mbappe hasn’t “stepped up” in big, tough CL games. Given that Mbappe has played in only 33 (with PSG), and some of them he was injured, how many of them were “big games” - using his selective criteria?

His GPG ratio is 0.6 at PSG and 0.4 at Monaco, these stats included games played while injured and games at Monaco before he was established. If you want to look at how these stats compare, consider, Ronaldo’s stats at ManU, RMad and Juve are 0.6!

From a Madrid perspective, I’ll be happy with either one and ecstatic if Flo could somehow end up with both.

Both are already great players and who knows if either one will end up as good as Messi or Ronaldo. At their ages, noone knew if Ronaldo or Messi would turn out as dominant as they both have been.

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Post by Thimmy Sat Mar 13, 2021 1:49 pm

Well, Bill, you, like the rest of this lot assume that I'm arguing for the sake of some agenda to hype up Haaland at Mbappe's expense, and everything that's been said seems to have been based around that assumption. Like you've pointed out, yourself, there's already plenty of bias on this forum. Hell, I associate GL with strong, individual and nationalistic biases, but if people are going to project their own biases onto me, then I can't be bothered to discuss, because this has predictably deviated into a circle jerk of Mbappe praise, when the only point I wanted to make was that I'm not entirely impressed by his performance level against tough teams to date. Why does the Haaland comparison have to be imposed on this discussion? You figure it out. I'm out.
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Post by futbol_bill Sat Mar 13, 2021 1:59 pm

I’m not assuming anything about any agenda you may have. I don’t take you as an ‘agenda’ poster like some on GL tend to be.

I’m simply trying to point out that there are only a very few games that fit your criteria for Mbappe to stand out.
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Post by Clutch Sat Mar 13, 2021 3:19 pm

I'd be willing to agree with this take if it werent for his Monaco stint. His performance on the CL stage at that age was the reason he was even sought after. No way he goes for £180+ if he bummed it on the biggest stage

But honestly outside of that, I think hes a bit overhyped. Marvelous player but he does get overrated by the media and such

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Post by Casciavit Sat Mar 13, 2021 3:55 pm

Depends on our sample size. Here's what I remember and I'm too lazy to fact check.

Mbappe's memorable CL knockout performances:
City in 2017
Dortmund in 2017
Barca in 2021

Don't remember him having good games against Madrid or United in 2018 and 2019 respectively. He didn't have any memorable CL performance in 2020, although he was playing with an ankle injury.

Mbappe is the type of player who's easier to shut down when you aren't playing to his strengths. He's an outlet who's impossible to defend in open spaces and if you close those off he looks a lot less effective since he's primarily a goalscorer.

Then again he's only 22. The guy is still young. I'm sure in the upcoming years he'll have more memorable knockout CL performances too.
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Post by Thimmy Sat Mar 13, 2021 4:09 pm

Thanks for another sensible response. I basically agree with what Clutch just said, although I didn't mean to criticize him so harshly as to say that he bummed it at anything, I just don't think he appears to be very effective when PSG can't find a solution to beat their opponent team. I can't recall him stepping up when the the rest of the team has no response to the other team. I honestly don't think that observation is out of line, but that seems to be the general consensus here.

I only mentioned this observation because I thought it would lead to a discussion from both sides, but it's mostly resulted in "why are you criticizing him? I prefer him over Haaland!". I'm not interested in that kind of discussion. I don't care who's better Laughing I criticized him because that's the impression I'm left with, a few years after he burst onto the scene. If the majority thinks he's flawless, then that's that, I guess. Nothing to discuss here.

I could tell you that I think he's great, repeat that I only hope he improves on what I find to be a rare flaw in him, share what I generally like about him, but that wouldn't make for much of a discussion. Maybe that's the type of discussion that's preferred on here.
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Post by Casciavit Sat Mar 13, 2021 4:48 pm

@Thimmy wrote:Thanks for another sensible response. I basically agree with what Clutch just said, although I didn't mean to criticize him so harshly as to say that he bummed it at anything, I just don't think he appears to be very effective when PSG can't find a solution to beat their opponent team. I can't recall him stepping up when the the rest of the team has no response to the other team. I honestly don't think that observation is out of line, but that seems to be the general consensus here.

I only mentioned this observation because I thought it would lead to a discussion from both sides, but it's mostly resulted in "why are you criticizing him? I prefer him over Haaland!". I'm not interested in that kind of discussion. I don't care who's better Laughing I criticized him because that's the impression I'm left with, a few years after he burst onto the scene. If the majority thinks he's flawless, then that's that, I guess. Nothing to discuss here.

I could tell you that I think he's great, repeat that I only hope he improves on what I find to be a rare flaw in him, share what I generally like about him, but that wouldn't make for much of a discussion. Maybe that's the type of discussion that's preferred on here.


Honestly, your argument isn't even that bad. I just don't think we have a large enough sample size to determine whether he's a flat-track bully. Though if I'm trying to strictly find reasons to undermine his performances, here goes my attempt:

Monaco wasn't the favorites going into their CL matches in 2017, but he played a key role in their underdog run. Then again, he came up against City who were trying to play like 2011 Barca with Kolarov, Clichy, and Otamendi defending in a high line. Mbappe's strengths decimated them.

Against BVB, I don't remember how the goals came, but considering it was a Bundesliga team that wasn't Bayern, I assume BVB passed the ball to him while they were trying to build from the back. Bundesfodder tax. I don't remember him having an impact against Juve either.

2018 CL I don't remember him having much of an impact against Madrid, albeit PSG weren't exactly the favorites for that tie either.

In the 2018 WC, he had two memorable performances against Argentina and Croatia. He was up against a dysfunctional Argentina who had a clown like Rojo defend in a high line, and Croatia was the clear underdog who went to extra time/pens in all their previous knockout round matches.

2019 CL he was comical with his finishing and PSG was surprisingly knocked out by Man Utd.

2020 CL he didn't really have any memorable moments despite PSG looking much better with him on the pitch. His finishing was a let down in the knockout rounds, but he wasn't fully fit.

2021 CL he torched Barca in the first leg who had the same defensive core that lost 8-2 against Bayern. He came up against Pique who just came back from a knee injury. Another match that played perfect to his conditions. When Barca shored up in the second leg with a 3-man backline that wasn't filled with snails, he didn't look as effective.

So if I'm taking a complete hater stance towards his CL performances I can see where some critics come from tbh. However, football has never been black and white, and the truth usually falls closer down the middle.

Yes, Mbappe's most memorable performances have come up against dysfunctional teams who defended in a comical manner against him (City/Argentina/Barca). Now we can maybe talk about asterisks behind those performances, but most don't and history only remembers who you beat in front of you. I also can't really take anything away from his CL performances in 2017 because he was 18!

Though after analyzing his knockout rounds history, I do understand why some might have reservations regarding his performances against other elite teams that don't play to his hands. Then again, the sample size just isn't large enough IMO. How many elite teams has he come up against in the CL?

Juve 2017, Madrid 2018, and Bayern 2020. Monaco were the clear underdogs, Madrid was back-to-back champions who were up against 19-year old Mbappe in his first year at PSG, and he was playing injured against Bayern. As I mentioned before he's also only 22, so I don't exactly have this expectation that he'll have an elite performance against every side he faces. Although, I do admit he should have done better against United in 2019.

I guess it comes down to what expectations you have for Mbappe. No one considers him the best in the world, and most don't consider him top 3, hell I'm not sure how many consider him top 5 either. Personally, I think his performances fall in line with what I expect from the best U23 player in the world who will likely go on to become the best in the world in his prime. Now if he's having similar performances against elite sides when he's 28, then I would judge him more harshly, but considering he's 22 and he hasn't had that many matches against elite teams, is it fair to still hold that claim against him?
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Post by Thimmy Sat Mar 13, 2021 5:19 pm

First of all, kudos to you for doing the research. I considered actually going through all of his important CL performances to analyze them over again, but I decided against it after reading some of the replies on here. It's not worth the effort. I think it's a very fair point that the sample size is small. Then again, I just wanted to start a discussion around this topic, not answer to his fans, or decide that I already know what the right answer is. Ideally, there'd be different aspects to his productivity against the few tough teams that he's encountered, so far.

As for my expectations towards him, he's already widely considered to be among the best players in the world, and at 22, he still has plenty of time to improve. He's already great, but I don't think we should avoid discussing the things he can still improve on.

From what I can tell, Mbappe seems very likely to end up at Real Madrid at some point, barring any economical shortcomings. If Mbappe is going to be our next ace, I like to think that he'll develop into more of a match decider than he currently is, because if I hold him to the high standards that Real Madrid fans tend to do with their star players, then trashing the weakest Barca side of the past 20+ years isn't going to be enough, if it means not having the capacity to stand out against the teams that actually pose a threat.
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Post by futbol_bill Sat Mar 13, 2021 5:42 pm

Fair enough Thimmy. Thanks for clarifying your viewpoint. I’m still hoping that both he and Haaland somehow end up in Madrid, but with the club’s financial squeeze it is highly improbable at this point.

It looks to me like Flo is concentrating on renewals right now and transfer funds will likely afford only one.
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Post by Thimmy Sat Mar 13, 2021 5:47 pm

I really wanted to avoid bringing up Haaland in this discussion, I anticipated that I would get barraged by bias accusations. But if he has any reason to join us, I can't tell what it is. Mbappe seems to have some degree of inclination towards picking us over other clubs. If anyone wants to discuss Haaland's flaws, I'm up for that as well. Something tells me that's more of an open topic than this one.
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Post by The Franchise Sat Mar 13, 2021 10:39 pm

So, is Cristiano still considered a top player right now by these harsh standards?

Because he played an even worse version of this Barca and did absolutely nothing. Got completely locked down by rookie Araujo and threw himself on the ground to win a fake penalty. Then converted from the Lenglet handball pen he played no part in.

Juve were by far the better side and had complete control and he still did next to nothing.

Does Cristiano's Porto performance not matter at all? Obviously not historically, but in todays game is this not relevant? Because if Mbappe played as he did, I highly doubt that wouldnt have been mentioned in this thread so far.

And yet, would anyone dare say Mbappe is better than Cristiano?

By what standards is Cristiano better than Mbappe today? Because I think you'd struggle to make a coherent argument.

It seems for Mbappe to win any arguement here, he has to play a team PSG arent as good as (so only 2 or 3 options there) and PSG have to be struggling or the opponent has to be perceived as not playing bad. If these conditions are not met, Mbappe has yet to prove anything?

When did the standards get this high? When Messi scored 4 against Arsenal back in the day, was that not proof of anything because Arsenal were not on Barca's level?

Im struggling with this extremely narrow definition of a worthwhile performance.
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Post by Thimmy Sat Mar 13, 2021 11:00 pm

I've watched Juventus on very rare occasions over the past year and a half, if not longer. I can't speak for CR7. During his last seasons at Real Madrid, though, it was painfully obvious that his consistency was no longer the same, and I personally felt like the period in which he performed up to the standard that we had come to expect from him, decreased during his last two seasons in Spain. To me, consistency is the most important quality you can have as a top player.

Would anyone dare to say that Mbappe is better than Cristiano? Probably not, but I think that has more to do with longevity than their respective, current form. Cristiano has very little to prove at this point in his career, other than showing people that he's still a top performer despite his age.

It seems for Mbappe to win any arguement here, he has to play a team PSG arent as good as (so only 2 or 3 options there) and PSG have to be struggling or the opponent has to be perceived as not playing bad. If these conditions are not met, Mbappe has yet to prove anything?

The argument is won by your camp. Read the replies. It's basically just you and camp Mbappe versus my initial statement. But to answer your question, I don't particularly care about "the argument". I'd like to see him have an impact against a team that at least is on equal footing to PSG, performance-wise. Doesn't matter if that team is Elche, as long as PSG aren't comfortably waiting for one of their many chances to end up in the back of the net. You think he's already doing that, and that's fair. Nothing to argue about then.

I don't think there's anything extreme about any of this. For what it matters, I don't think Messi trashing Arsenal was much of an exceptional achievement based on what we know he can do, and I shared that opinion while we were all watching that match live. We all knew that Arsenal were the underdogs before the match had even started. If anything, it was more of a showcasing of his skill, rather than his ability to be decisive. If I'm not mistaken, he was branded a big game flop by many members of this forum around the same time.
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Post by Doc Sat Mar 13, 2021 11:17 pm

I sort of understand Felix's omission (sort of, I think there is way too much talent in him to be benched) but I cannot understand why Saul is not starting way more than he should.

He's honestly the quintessential Simeone-type midfielder. A very balanced type of player that fits in well with what the man really wants. Then again, I'm bias when it comes to Saul as I genuinely admire his talents.

Also, Madrid has zero chance of winning the league, Hala needs to give up on hope.
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Post by Arquitecto Sun Mar 14, 2021 2:11 pm

@Thimmy wrote:I definitely did anticipate that someone would turn this into a "you're just trying to hype up Haaland at Mbappe's expense". I don't know what to say. It doesn't have to be A compared to B every single time. At least, that wasn't my intention. As much as I enjoy watching Haaland in the Bundesliga, I can't imagine a likely scenario where he transfers to Real Madrid, all things considered. Mbappe, on the other hand, likely will. And that makes the latter more relevant to me.

Back to Mbappe. I don't think Sports needs to worry, because it's clear that Mbappe has the full support of GL, and that's great. I do think he'll become a Real Madrid player at some point, and I think people on here are conveniently overlooking what I think is a bottleneck to his capability at present time. I had thought that someone else would chime in on this discussion and share their thoughts, as his lack of impact in big games has been a discussion on here more than once in the past, but I suppose it doesn't matter now.

I'm not going to agree with ya'll that performing in big games is something he already excels at. That would mean that my eyes are cheating me. He has yet to convince me of that he can step up his game, rather than step down, when the going gets tough. I rarely watch PSG in ligue 1 these days, but I do try to analyze his performances in the CL, and I just can't ignore that he always seems to leave me quite underwhelmed against tougher opposition. I don't consider Dortmund much of a tough opposition, for that matter. He should've had a field day against their defense, but he didn't.

Part of me wanted Barcelona to be the test where he would finally show his quality against a tough side, but I also knew how poor they are these days, and I feel like you could replace him with a lesser player, and they'd still advance at Barca's expense - perhaps with less bravado and goal difference. Barca were the underdogs, and I definitely imagine Real Madrid would've been the same.

It's something I genuinely hope he improves on, because I can't motivate myself to watch Real Madrid these days, and we absolutely need someone who can be a difference-maker when it looks like we're in trouble. CR7 used to be that guy, even Bale and Ramos have made themselves stand out from the pack in matches where we've struggled. I don't see Mbappe as that type of player, the way he is now. As far as I'm concerned, you all have rose-tinted glasses Thumbs up



No the words in Italic are false as its me being facetious and more so implying that finally you are also hyping Haaland.

My point holds little weight since Mbappe is more a reflection of what I prefer in a player over Haaland but more so saying he has proven more than Haaland in his short career. On the other hand Haaland has not had as much time and the supporting cast around him like the Frenchman has had, either.
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Post by Thimmy Sun Mar 14, 2021 3:32 pm

I don’t think he needs much more hyping up than he already has. I never expected him to be as good as he is when I first heard about him. I would prefer Haaland over Mbappe at Real Madrid, as I think we need a clinical goalscorer more than anything else, and I personally believe he’s better at that than Mbappe is.

But again, I can’t imagine a scenario in the immediate future where he picks us over other clubs. Real Madrid seems like a bucket list destination for Mbappe, so that makes him a far more likely target, and relevant player to discuss from a Real Madrid fan’s perspective. Zidane might influence his transfer, as well.

I personally hope Mbappe becomes the best version of himself if he does arrive, and if there’s anything I want to see more of in him, it’s the ability to be decisive in tough matches. The entertainment value to his game is great and all, but above all else, I want to see effectivity.
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Post by The Franchise Mon Mar 15, 2021 4:59 pm

Fair enough Thimmy. No argument here and just for the record, I think Cristiano even today is still a top player. I was just trying to figure out where he stands on this type of analysis because I do get the sense his reputation (which is, a big game player beyond reproach) is based on what he has been capable of at times historically, rather than what he actually done at this current point in time.

I will also say, I am not sure I believe in players not performing when the so-called chips are down. I think its a bit of a myth which applies to some rare players.

I think skill for skill, Mbappe has all he needs to give a performance in those situations. It to me is more of a function of the team.

If PSG end up against a team they controls them, isolates Mbappe and doesnt leave space even in transitions. He will do absolutely nothing about it and I wouldnt hold it against him.

Would it surprise you if they played Man City and they totally render him anonymous? It wouldnt surprise me at all and I wouldnt think less of him for it.
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Post by farfan Mon Mar 15, 2021 5:16 pm

@The Franchise wrote:Fair enough Thimmy. No argument here and just for the record, I think Cristiano even today is still a top player. I was just trying to figure out where he stands on this type of analysis because I do get the sense his reputation (which is, a big game player beyond reproach) is based on what he has been capable of at times historically, rather than what he actually done at this current point in time.

I will also say, I am not sure I believe in players not performing when the so-called chips are down. I think its a bit of a myth which applies to some rare players.

I think skill for skill, Mbappe has all he needs to give a performance in those situations. It to me is more of a function of the team.

If PSG end up against a team they controls them, isolates Mbappe and doesnt leave space even in transitions. He will do absolutely nothing about it and I wouldnt hold it against him.

Would it surprise you if they played Man City and they totally render him anonymous? It wouldnt surprise me at all and I wouldnt think less of him for it.


Totally agree with this. People put too much stock on these "big moments " when the focus should be on a player's entire body of work. Any world-class player can get marked out of a big game. It happened to Messi in like 3 or 4 consecutive CL quarterfinals.

By the same token, any mediocre player on any given night can find himself at the right place at the right time to make the difference. Moussa Dembele did it for us against City last year, and that didn't change anyone's opinion of his abilities, and we promptly got rid of him the following season. Laughing
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Post by Thimmy Mon Mar 15, 2021 6:37 pm

@farfan wrote:
@The Franchise wrote:Fair enough Thimmy. No argument here and just for the record, I think Cristiano even today is still a top player. I was just trying to figure out where he stands on this type of analysis because I do get the sense his reputation (which is, a big game player beyond reproach) is based on what he has been capable of at times historically, rather than what he actually done at this current point in time.

I will also say, I am not sure I believe in players not performing when the so-called chips are down. I think its a bit of a myth which applies to some rare players.

I think skill for skill, Mbappe has all he needs to give a performance in those situations. It to me is more of a function of the team.

If PSG end up against a team they controls them, isolates Mbappe and doesnt leave space even in transitions. He will do absolutely nothing about it and I wouldnt hold it against him.

Would it surprise you if they played Man City and they totally render him anonymous? It wouldnt surprise me at all and I wouldnt think less of him for it.


Totally agree with this. People put too much stock on these "big moments " when the focus should be on a player's entire body of work. Any world-class player can get marked out of a big game. It happened to Messi in like 3 or 4 consecutive CL quarterfinals.

By the same token, any mediocre player on any given night can find himself at the right place at the right time to make the difference. Moussa Dembele did it for us against City last year, and that didn't change anyone's opinion of his abilities, and we promptly got rid of him the following season. Laughing


Marking an elite player like Messi out of a game means devoting a lot of players to supressing him, which opens up opportunities for other players to push forward. I think that’s a useful contribution, too.

I agree that a lot of people put too much stock in big moments, but that makes me wonder if you’re referring to actual moments in a match, or isolated, singular matches.

I generally get the impression that I care more about consistency than most people seem to do, as opposed to «Bale- like moments», but players who can be decisive in the tough matches are absolutely important too.

Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo definitely fit both descriptions, and both of them have shown high consistency in that regard, over the course of their careers.

You refer to a player’s body of work, and I think the two of them are standard setters in that regard. You can point out singular games where they didn’t have much impact, but they’ve both been absolutely clutch so many times that many people started taking it for granted.

Even when their teams looked likely to draw or lose - as Real Madrid and Barcelona have done several times, those two players have excelled and decided matches against the odds on a much more consistent basis than your Moussa Dembeles or Origis, who we all have lower expectations towards based on their average productivity level, or body of work, as you aptly put it.
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