Kylian Mbappe is coming back into form at just the right time for Paris Saint-Germain after a goal drought of more than a month with the Ligue 1 giants. Prior to the France international's goal and assist in Saturday's 3-0 Championnat win over RC Strasbourg Alsace it had been over a calendar month since he last scored for PSG and five weeks since his last league goals.
Mbappe ended his dry spell the way that it started -- from the penalty spot against Borussia Dortmund -- opening the scoring 10 minutes in at Parc des Princes after Goncalo Ramos was fouled. The French superstar added a superb assist for a rare Carlos Soler strike later in the first half to double the lead for Luis Enrique's side and it was a welcome return to form for the team's talisman.
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Mbappe's three goals while on international duty with Les Bleus against the Netherlands and Scotland not only shook off concerns over his form but secured UEFA Euro 2024 qualification. Returning to club action after the October internationals was always going to be tricky after OGC Nice managed a 3-2 win in the capital against a rotated side after the September break.
Spectacular defeat to Newcastle United in the UEFA Champions League has brought greater scrutiny on PSG's overall form so a win over Strasbourg and provisional top spot in Ligue 1 was needed. With the first part of a European doubleheader against Milan coming up next Wednesday, questions over Mbappe and Les Parisiens' form would have been greater had his drought dragged on.
Milan home-and-away will be key, with four points arguably the minimum expected of the Ligue 1 titleholders as they seek to overhaul Newcastle at the top of Group F. The win over Strasbourg helps to improve the domestic situation with games against Stade Brestois 29, Montpellier HSC and Stade de Reims arguably less of a concern than the return trip to Italy in early November.
Mbappe being key to PSG's scoring hopes is nothing new. But after he went on a tear early this term that hot form died off after an injury against Olympique de Marseille and lower fitness levels after a minimal preseason. Getting him back into his groove for this key run will have been vital to Luis Enrique who will now expect more from his star man.
The Frenchman stepping up against Strasbourg came as the Spanish tactician rotated his troops with a number of influential regulars absent. Bringing them back in for the Milan clash at home will better Mbappe's chances to add further goals to this season's tally with Ousmane Dembele, Randal Kolo Muani, Achraf Hakimi, Manuel Ugarte and Milan Skriniar rested from the off against the visitors.
Mbappe's return to scoring form does not totally solve Luis Enrique's attacking issues with Soler and Fabian Ruiz netting two of three despite Ramos, Bradley Barcola and Lee Kang-In playing from the start and Kolo Muani as well as Dembele coming on. The front line chemistry issues will really be tested across the two games against Milan with veritable evidence of progress needed.
Whatever the combination, Mbappe will be key to that and he will continue to start for Luis Enrique but the question of who to play alongside him will be interesting against the Rossoneri. The tactical setup cannot be as lopsided as it was in Newcastle yet Stefano Pioli's side are nothing if not defensively solid and will require great invention to be broken down by the home side.
What Luis Enrique decides to do structurally may well hinge upon the fitness of the young Warren Zaire-Emery whose return to fitness against Milan will be influential. Saturday's Spanish scorers Soler and Ruiz could potentially hold the key in finally bridging the disconnect between Mbappe in attack and the rest of this PSG side.