PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN VS OLYMPIQUE MARSEILLE
COUPE DE LA LIGUE
VENUE: PARC DES PRINCES
DATE: 31ST OCTOBER 2012
KICK-OFF: 19:55 (GMT)
Tonight is the second classique in as many weeks as cup holders Marseille make their first trip to the Parc des Princes this season in the Coupe de la Ligue.
Les Parisiens come off the back of a valiant win in Nancy at the weekend to send us three points clear at the top at the expense of Marseille whose game with Lyon on Sunday was postponed due to poor weather conditions.
It is a special fixture regardless of the competition. Although both clubs will not consider the Coupe de la Ligue as a main priority, this is a game both will wholeheartedly want to win – especially the supporters from both sides.
Since the 2-2 meeting at the Stade Velodrome at the beginning of the month, we remain unbeaten in Ligue 1 and now find ourselves at the top of the league’s summit. OM on the other hand have hit a sticky patch, losing 1-0 away to strugglers Troyes before being humbled in Europe by German club Borussia Monchengladbach. The importance of us now sitting at the top is a pivotal step as teams are NOW chasing us. It is a scenario we found ourselves in last season but failed to capitalise as Montpellier edged us back to go on and win the title, but circumstances are different this time around. We have a coach with experience of securing league titles and a host of players with that winning mentality. We stand in much better stead at this present time to take the baton and run with it. This is by no means a knock at former coach Antoine Kombouare – a man who did wonders for the club during his tenure, who I have incessantly praised – but Carletto has that nous and experience to get the job done.
The league is his priority and rightfully so. He said in yesterday’s presser that the game tonight is important but in terms of going on and winning the competition will be nothing more than a bonus; “It’s a little different because the League Cup is not a priority. The most important thing is the championship. Playing against Marseille is always special. This is an important game. We must be confident, have a good match, and win. We want to win all the competitions in which we participate, and give a good image of our team and our club. This is a particular match, everyone wants to win.”
Nevertheless, despite a few absentness, a strong side will be selected. Nicolas Douchez will deputise in goal in place of Salvatore Sirigu as Marco Verratti is rested. Zlatan Ibrahimovic picked up a slight knock on Tuesday and underwent an individual training session – but he is in the squad. Whether or not he starts is another matter. Blaise Matuidi is another who may be rested after being lauded with praise by the coach; “This is a crucial player because he plays for the team. He has great humility. I’ll talk with him, and then we will decide if he plays.”
As for our visitors, they are reeling with the absence of star striker and top goalscorer Andre-Pierre Gignac who broke his foot against Troyes, ruling him out for two months. Loic Remy will be the main man up top, supported by the likes of Mathieu Valbuena, Andre Ayew and Morgan Amalfitano.
We want to win this, no two ways about it. This time last year we were outdone away from home by Dijon 3-2 where Kombouare came under intense scrutiny. With a place in the quarter-finals at stake, his successor will love to go the whole way and get his first piece of silverware in Paris.
(Quotes courtesy of the club’s Official Site)