Gueye: PSG's lucky charm
When summer signing Idrissa Gueye is at work in Paris Saint-Germain's midfield, the capital club's stats are even more impressive than usual. Check out the impact the Senegal international has had in Thomas Tuchel's side.
"Idrissa Gueye is a key player for us," Thomas Tuchel declared after Paris Saint-Germain's 4-0 victory over Angers in Week 9 - having already hailed the industrious midfielder's efforts in the 3-0 UEFA Champions League win over Real Madrid on 18 September. "With him playing, we don't concede any goals. He's a machine! He never stops running and he wins a lot of balls."
No goals conceded
These words that gain even more weight when considering the totality of his performances in just over a month in the French capital. In the eight games Paris Saint-Germain have played with Gueye in the line-up, including six in Ligue 1 Conforama, they are unbeaten and have not conceded a single goal. The 30-year-old Senegalese midfielder, who arrived this summer from the English Premier League, played no part in the three matches in which Paris Saint-Germain failed to keep a clean sheet: twice against Stade Rennais F.C. and once against Stade de Reims.
While Gueye is obviously not the only factor behind this defensive solidity, he does play a crucial role in it. And above all, when he has been on the field, Paris have won all their matches, including a prestigious 3-0 Champions League win over Real Madrid in which the Senegalese was on fire. A sure sign that Gueye's return to Ligue 1 Conforama four years after his departure is going extremely well.
Gueye's compatriot Habib Beye, a consultant on French sports network Canal+, knows the midfielder inside out and assessed his impact on PSG's game thus: "We don't realise how valuable players like him can be in a squad. He brings something that PSG didn't have in midfield before; Gueye has changed a lot of things in PSG's game. He is a player who can run all night but also has an ability to change rhythm, and above all read the game in the same way that N'Golo Kanté can."
Gana's impact on his new club is further evidenced by his 100% winning record. Simply put, PSG have won all eight matches Gueye has featured in, conceding zero goals in those 720 minutes. The midfielder even went as far as to score a goal of his own in the 4-0 win over Angers SCO.
In individual terms, the Lion of Teranga is dominant and currently leads the league in terms of balls played per match (102) and the number of passes (95.8). Within the Parisian team, Gueye is number one in terms of challenges won (3.7/match) and number two in terms of balls won (13.3/match). He is also heavily involved in the construction of attacking play, leading the Parisian ranks in terms of passes that lead to a shot on goal - currently ahead of both Angel Di Maria and Neymar.
Eye to eye
Thomas Tuchel had been waiting for a long time for such a player, and eagerly described Gueye as "fantastic" even before he had turned out for the capital club. Idrissa Gueye quickly confirmed his new coach's high opinion of him and, it seems, will stop at nothing to repay that faith.
"We have a strong relationship. It's important to him and to me," declared Gueye. "It makes me want to give everything on the field."