PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN vs FC LORIENT
VENUE: PARC DES PRINCES
DATE: 11TH AUGUST 2012
KICK-OFF: 20:00 (GMT)
So it begins. A brand new season, a new dawn and a new era for Paris Saint-Germain as the club begin its nine month marathon to capture that elusive Ligue 1 title that the club has craved for 18 years. The season begins just as it did last year, with the visit of Lorient to the Parc des Princes.
The summer has been filled with drama afoot in the transfer market with the acquisition of some of the world’s finest talent that will send PSG to that next level. Zlatan Ibrahimovic in particular will be the outlet and focal point for the team but as yet his match fitness is not quite up to speed. He looked a little weary in the game against Barcelona last Saturday and it will be hard for him to hit top form straight away. Nevertheless, Ibra is a phenomenon in his position (fully fit or not), and the reason why QSI have forked out so much money for him. He is a match winner, capable of doing things in front of goal that are lavished with superlatives in abundance. A killer instinct was lacking up top last season and that is what ultimately cost us the title. He will bring that, with the supply of Ezequiel Lavezzi down the left to aid him – a signing that started the flurry of activity in the market. Lavezzi will be vying it out for that starting berth along with Nene. Jeremy Menez will more than likely uptake his role down the right, but that will not stop Carlo Ancelotti from chopping and changing if he feels needs must during the course of the season.
Tomorrow it will be interesting to see how he sets up but it will not be too dissimilar from the team he picked at the weekend. Mamadou Sakho will partner Alex in the heart of the defence with Thiago Motta anchoring the midfield alongside one of the three out of Mathieu Bodmer, Mohamed Sissoko and Blaise Matuidi. Javier Pastore is suspended for the game so perhaps Jeremy Menez will play just behind the striker, with the supporting cast on the wings in Lavezzi and Nene who may interchange throughout the 90. Zlatan will of course uptake his position as the lone striker, looking to capitalise on the service from the trio in and around him.
The visitors to the Parc tomorrow will have the company of an old friend of Les Parisiens, Ludovic Giuly who signed following his release from Monaco at the beginning of the month. The 36-year-old spent three fruitful years in the capital, helping win the Coupe de France in 2010 against Monaco – who ironically he joined a year later.
Les Merlus survived relegation last term by the skin of their teeth, avoiding the drop by just one point. They began last season with a victory over PSG at the Parc with an infamous 1-0 win and those three points turned out to be so crucial in their survival. Even though they are facing a different animal this time around, they will not be deterred in their mindset to upset the apple cart, no matter how enormous the task may be. PSG were renowned for lapses of concentration last season and Ancelotti will be keen to iron out those wrinkles this time around. If the club are to win the championship, these are the games that you can ill afford to slipup. On too many occasion that happened last season.
So with the eyes of the world on the Parisien project, the team must now put on a show. The all important thing is three points and it will be far from a vintage display as the players continue to integrate with one another. The spine of the team remains intact but in the final third is where the chemistry needs to develop and that will happen over time. Allez PSG!
Incidentally, a special mention to our NEW club captain Christophe Jallet who was called up to the Les Bleus squad for the very first time yesterday. It is truly deserved CJ.
Also, Thiago Silva and new signing Lucas Moura will be involved in an Olympic final against Mexico today. Hopefully a gold medal awaits the new boys that they can show off at Camp des Loges. Silva will FINALLY join up with the club next week. Cannot wait!
Probable PSG starting-XI: Sirigu, Jallet, Alex, Sakho, Maxwell, Motta, Bodmer, Menez, Nene, Lavezzi, Ibrahimovic.