Olympique Lyonnais vs PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
Venue: Stade de Gerland
Date: 25th February 2012
Kick-Off: 20:00 (GMT)
Paris Saint-Germain take on an out of form Olympique Lyonnais at the Stade de Gerland tomorrow with their best chance of winning there in seven years.
Despite a Coupe de la Ligue victory in the fall of 2010, Le Parisiens have failed to beat their counterparts since a 1-0 victory back in April 2005 thanks to a goal by Danijel Ljuboja – in a week where Les Gones were also eliminated from the Champions League by Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men come into the game having faced an almighty scare last Sunday where Guillaume Hoarau rescued a point late on against title rivals Montpellier. Although the performance was flawed, testament must be paid to the character of the players for dragging themselves back up in the dying embers to salvage a point. They could have quite easily succumbed to defeat having put so much effort into denying the MHSC onslaught for large parts of the game, especially when John Utaka netted what looked to be the winner with just under 10 minutes remaining. Nevertheless, it was as apparent as ever that Rene Girard’s team are just as capable at winning this championship than ourselves. They face a resurgent Bordeaux tomorrow, hours before the game in the Rhone-Alpes.
As for Lyon, their form has been as inconsistent as it has been for some time. Currently sitting in sixth, they are 12 points off the lead and even more worrying, six points adrift of the third Champions League spot currently held by Lille. A decent run of form over the winter has been tarnished over the past few weeks following two defeats, one at home to Caen and the other away to Bordeaux last week – which could prove critical if they fail to obtain European football next season.
It is a huge contrast to the build-up for the fixture back in October at the Parc des Princes, where Lyon were sitting joint-top of the table with PSG and with the same goal difference (+7). The club will be feeling sombre as to how their title challenge has evaporated so drastically having had a good start to the season.
Team-wise, their Coach Remi Garde will still be without playmaker Yoann Gourcuff. The 25-year-old has been struggling with injury the past few weeks and is joined on the sidelines by Dejan Lovren, John Mensah and Clement Grenier – who is suspended. The away side are waiting on the fitness of Milan Bisevac who was stretchered off last weekend having collided with Olivier Giroud. Marcos Ceara has been suffering from a virus and Christophe Jallet is also out, leaving Ancelotti with a headache as to who can fill in at right-back. Javier Pastore is also in line for a start having made his comeback from injury last weekend off the bench.
Despite Lyon being out of the running for the title, this is still a monumental clash, one of the glamour fixtures of the Ligue 1 calendar. Nene, speaking to the club’s Official Site this week, is under no illusions at just how important three points will be. He said; “It’s another very important match. Against Montpellier, we were unable to get all three points. We have to travel to Lyon for the win. They are a very strong team and it will be a great match to watch between two sides that love to play good football.”