PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN vs Olympique Lyonnais
Venue: Parc des Princes
Date: 2nd October 2011
Kick-Off: 20:00 (GMT)
It has been a mixed week for Paris Saint-Germain. Last weekend saw them propel to the top of Ligue 1 after a fantastic 3-0 result in Montpellier – culminating their best points tally (17) after eight games since 1997 – but came right back down to earth on Thursday in the Europa Laegue.
A 2-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao does not exactly tell the whole story as the performance as a whole was pretty abject. However, a number of marquee names such as Salvatore Sirigu, Blaise Matuidi, Jeremy Menez and Kevin Gameiro did not start or even figure at all. Now, attention turns to tomorrow’s huge top of the table clash at home against Lyon.
Les Gones accompany PSG as joint league leaders with 17 points and the exact +7 goal difference, emphasising just how evenly matched both sides are going into the game. Remi Garde’s men fared better in European competition this week as they overcame Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 at the Stade der Gerland with star striker Bafetimbi Gomis impressing throughout. The 26-year-old is his club’s top goalscorer with six goals.
Although PSG Coach Antoine Kombouare will be drilling it into his players to quell Gomis’ influence, he will also be aware of some of the new blood in their opponents ranks. The injury to Yoann Gourcuff has allowed the likes of Clement Grenier and Maxime Gonalons to prosper in midfield along with the more senior models of Michel Bastos and Kim Kallstrom.
Brazilian Bastos contributed with a goal in an emphatic 3-1 victory over 2009 Ligue 1 winners Bordeaux last weekend in a match that really demonstrated the team’s wealth of ability – along with its blend of youthful exuberance and experience.
As for the home side, they will welcome back their more senior names following their rests for the Europa League. Blaise Matuidi’s presence in central midfield was sorely missed on Thursday and his domineering presence is the backbone needed for PSG to prosper. Gameiro will return upfront and his movement and positional play will trouble the Lyon backline throughout.
The home side took the spoils last year in a 1-0 win thanks to defender Zoumana Camara – who is still out through injury, along with Mamadou Sakho and possibly Milan Bisevac who is a doubt. As for the visitors they are still without Gourcuff and Argentine striker Lisandro Lopez.
Tomorrow will not have a bearing as to who will go on and win the title, but the psychological benefits for the victors will be huge. It will open up a three point gap and give them the impetus to really stake a claim over the autumn/winter calendar.
As the home team, this is a real opportunity for Les Rouge-et-Bleu to pull away from the chasing pack.