Paris St Germain’s Edinson Cavani has wasted countless chances this season but has also converted more than any striker in Europe and they will again rely on his marksmanship in the Champions League at FC Basel on Tuesday.
With 10 Ligue 1 goals in as many games and four goals from three Champions League matches, the Uruguayan is the highest scorer in the five big European leagues despite an unfortunate reputation for not being the most clinical finisher.
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic having left PSG to join Manchester United in the close season, Cavani took over the central striking role at the Paris club and only AS Roma’s Edin Dzeko has scored as many league goals this term.
Yet Cavani started the season being jeered for a wasteful performance against Metz and although he scored against Arsenal in the Champions League in September, was widely blamed — and blamed himself — for missing a hatful of chances in a 1-1 draw.
“He is a versatile forward, he’s the number nine we need,” PSG fullback Thomas Meunier said after Cavani netted the only goal in a 1-0 Ligue 1 win at Lille last Friday despite only two of his six goal attempts finding the target.
“Even if he misses chances, he’s always in the good rhythm, he’s always at the right place and he’s very dangerous. We could even make his life easier if we were more precise.”
PSG, second in Group A with seven points from three games, will reach the last 16 if they beat Basel at St Jakob’s Park.
Under new coach Unai Emery, who took over from Laurent Blanc, PSG have been less flamboyant but remain confident they are on the right path.
“It is a bit tougher this season but we know we can do better,” their Italy midfielder Marco Verratti said. “We create a lot of chances and we concede only a few.”
Despite a 3-0 win against Basel in the first meeting, PSG will be wary of their hosts, who are 12 points clear in the Swiss Super League following a 2-0 victory over Grasshoppers.
“We’ve been playing well but there are a few things we can still improve,” said Basel attacking midfielder Matias Delgado.
Coach Urs Fischer warned that his side must be more focused after taking their foot off the gas against Grasshoppers.
“We had the game under control but after an hour we gave them the keys,” he said. “We cannot let this happen.”
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