PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN VS SAINT-ETIENNE
VENUE: PARC DES PRINCES
DATE: 3RD NOVEMBER 2011
KICK-OFF: 16:00 (GMT)
Another massive test for PSG on Saturday as they take on Saint-Etienne who have played some of the best football in Ligue 1 this season.
Wednesday’s Coupe de la Ligue victory over Marseille in the classique proved one or two critics wrong who believe the team is inferior without Zlatan Ibrahomovic. Sure, we were given a slice of luck when Rod Fanni was dismissed in the first-half and Thiago Silva dispatched the resulting penalty but the play in general up to that point was superb. What was even more impressive was the team’s attitude to not rest on their laurels and continue to be professional, play the right way before eventually killing the game off thanks to Jeremy Menez.
There were many pluses to take from that heading into the clash against ASSE and this is going to be a real difficult obstacle for us to overcome. The 10-time Ligue 1 winners have not lost a game since mid-September and occupy fifth place with 15 points from their 10 outings .
They started the season rather sluggish with two back to back defeats but their fortunes changed when they thumped Bastia 3-0 away from home. Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored on the day and has been a catalyst ever since. Already netting six goals this season he is the focal point of the team but – thankfully from a Parisien perspective – he is a major doubt for the game with a thigh problem. Regardless, Les Verts possess a wealth quality to compensate for his absence such as Max Gradel and former Marseille striker Brandao whose physical presence up-front will be a match for the likes of Thiago Silva and Mamadou Sakho.
As for ourselves, Kevin Gameiro, Thiago Motta and Ezequiel Lavezzi are all still out. Zlatan will return after missing the game in midweek as he seeks his 200th career league goal.
The clash will be a special occasion for our midfield stalwart Blaise Matuidi who will be rendezvousing with his former employers. The 25-year-old has been exemplary this season and Carletto confirmed he will play despite the large quantity of games he has started this term.
By the end of the night we could open up a six-point lead, putting the pressure on Toulouse, Lyon and OM who all play on Sunday.