PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN VS STADE DE REIMS
VENUE: PARC DES PRINCES
DATE: 20TH OCTOBER 2012
KICK-OFF: 16:00 (GMT)
The penultimate international break of the year has concluded as club football finally resumes. Many of us will be glad to see the back of the international scene for the time being – me for one as an Englishman after another drab performance by the Three Lions – but contrasting fortunes for Les Bleus. Last Friday’s lacklustre defeat to Japan at the Stade de France was eradicated with a superb performance against world champions Spain where Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud netted an injury time equaliser in their World Cup qualifier in Madrid. It was a game with a healthy Parisien contingent on show as Jeremy Menez, Mamadou Sakho and Blaise Matuidi – who stood out with a sterling display – all took part.
Club captain Christophe Jallet adorned the blue of his national team against Japan as did Clement Chantome who made his international debut coming on for the second-half. However, it has come with a price as he picked up an injury which may rule him out tomorrow.
Elsewhere, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has had a wonderful week. He started the ball rolling with a goal in Berlin against Germany on Tuesday which culminated in Sweden coming back from 4-0 down to incredibly draw 4-4, earning a vital point in their quest for qualification. Ibra was then presented with the respected ‘Golden Foot’ award the following night as recognition for his achievements in the sport.
Incidentally, for the past week there has been talk of Zlatan possibly returning to Milan after paying them a glowing testament with his comments to the media. The striker has thankfully poured cold water on any such talk and told SKY Italia that he is happy in Paris after a wonderful start to his career in Ligue 1; “I have no nostalgia for Milan. I’m here with Paris and want to win everything that is possible. We are only half way through the project here,” Ibra said.
His influence in the last game against Marseille was pivotal. Even though he was lambasted by some in the French media who claimed he did not do enough in the game, it was his brace that secured a huge point in the title race. His presence will be key again come tomorrow against Stade de Reims who have made a steady transition from Ligue 2 and sit 5th in the table .
After an indifferent start to the campaign they have hit a rich vein of form which has included a 3-1 win over the champions Montpellier. Results against Toulouse and Saint-Etienne also suggest that this could be a tricky obstacle for Les Parisiens.
Hubert Fournier will utilise a 4-5-1 with top scorer Gaetan Courtan leading the line on his own. He has been impressive, netting four goals with a brace against Nice in his last game coming within six minutes after coming off the bench.
As for ourselves, Marco Verratti is suspended for the game. Thiago Motta and Clement Chantome are out due to injury meaning Mathieu Bodmer may come back into the fray alongside Blaise Matuidi and Mohamed Sissoko in midfield. Apart from that no other notable injury concerns. Ezequiel Lavezzi is fit and may be in line for a start.
With a trip to Zagreb on Wednesday night in the UEFA Champions League, it will be interesting to see of Carlo Ancelotti shuffles the pack. After the defeat in Porto a result in Croatia is imperative in our quest for qualification so it will be naive to think that Carletto does not have one eye on that. We shall see, but three points tomorrow will see us go top for the first time this season – for the time being at least with OM away to Troyes on Sunday night.