A shortage of bodies in PSG’s midfield has seen Marquinhos taking on a brand new midfield role, that could see the Brazilian excelling in two different positions
Marquinhos has led Paris Saint Germain to a decisive victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford. The Brazilian imposed himself as man of the match, with his best ever performance in the UEFA Champions League – albeit in a central midfield role this time around.
If you ask football fans about Marquinhos, the mainstream answer would be that he is one of the best young center backs out there, one with a complete skill-set who can handle the ball well even when under pressure – making him a proper deep-lying playmaker when in possession. But if you talk about Marquinhos the midfielder, there would be many question marks surrounding this position – but not after what happened in England on Tuesday.
Paris Saint Germain was in desperate need for someone to step up in the absence of Edinson Cavani and Neymar JR who were ruled out with injuries, and while Kylian Mbappé and Angel Di Maria did their job close to perfection up top, it was Marquinhos who dominated the midfield battle, offering the Ligue Un giants the upper hand in the most decisive sector.
Besides displaying his natural breathtaking long-range passing and defensive skills, Marquinhos showed just how intelligent he can be in reading the game well, and making the convenient pass at the right moment. In addition to that, he neutralized World Cup winner Paul Pogba, consequently ending Manchester United’s number one threat. What Marquinhos offered in the game was very valuable, one of the best performances by any midfielder in the UEFA Champions League this season, especially when we take into consideration how much of a high-profile game this was.
Marquinhos’ game by numbers vs. Man Utd:
100% take-ons completed
56/62 passes completed
4 accurate long balls
Best player on the pitch. ??? pic.twitter.com/VISpZ12JN2
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 12, 2019
Another option for Tite in Brazil’s midfield
Thiago Silva and João Miranda were impeccable in the World Cup, but they are not getting any younger, whereas Brazil is well-served in the central defensive midfield role with the likes of Fabinho and Casemiro. In theory, the Seleção needs the PSG-man in central defense more so than in defensive midfield. But if Marquinhos is capable of repeating such mouth-watering performances in the later stages of Europe’s number one competition, it will be difficult for Tite to completely ignore what’s going on.
Marquinhos admittedly learned a lot about the art of defending, from his idol, mentor and club teammate Thiago Silva. The two formed a solid partnership in central defense, but PSG’s shortage of options in midfield after failing to sign Fabinho, meant that the duo would have to be temporarily separated. But all credit goes to German tactician Thomas Tuchel who excelled when he came up with Marquinhos as an improvised holding midfielder.
PSG is now in pole position, and qualification to the quarter-final depends on them more than on anything else. It will be interesting to monitor the progress of their Brazilian stars from Thiago Silva and Marquinhos to Dani Alves and Neymar JR. All four of them will be favorable candidates when Tite announces his Seleção 23-man squad for the Copa América on home soil, a few months from now.