PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN VS STADE RENNAIS
VENUE: PARC DES PRINCES
DATE: 17TH NOVEMBER 2012
KICK-OFF: 16:00 (GMT)
This is already turning out to be an incredible Ligue 1 season with the top half of the table so tightly congested after 12 games. Paris Saint-Germain retained their place at the top after last weekend’s 1-1 draw away to Montpellier but anything less than a win tomorrow against Rennes could see them slide down the table depending on other results.
Amazingly, just four points separate the top-nine clubs. Tomorrow’s opponents sit in ninth place but if they manage a victory, they will just be the one point of ourselves. It is incredible considering many felt Les Parisiens would steamroll towards the title after the summer dealings.
The performance at the home of the champions last week was far from pretty but there were so many positives to take. Mamadou Sakho’s dismissal in the 10th minute made the picture look pretty bleak but the desire and resilience of Carletto’s men prevailed. Not only did the team take the lead but they looked comfortable despite the numerical disadvantage. It was only when MHSC began to press after the interval that we started to look weary, especially after they equalised via Remy Cabella. Younes Belhanda’s dismissal resulted in a level playing field and both sides were content with the draw but the tenacity of the team, playing 80+ minutes with 10-men really was admirable.
Jeremy Menez was absolutely fantastic once again and he was the main protagonist for us in the final third. He was the linchpin going forward and assisted Maxwell’s superb opener. He has undisputedly stamped his name in the first-XI and looks a much more complete player this season than to last.
The return of Thiago Motta from injury was a welcomed boost. Not kicking a ball for PSG since September due to injury, he did not look out of place last weekend and will more than likely retain his place.
Once again, we are going to have to contend without Zlatan Ibrahimovic who will serve the final game of his ban. He has been the talk of the football world this week after a monumental display against England for Sweden where he scored four goals – one being discussed as the greatest ever. If you have been living under a rock the last few days and have failed to see it, then you must!
That being said, Kevin Gameiro may come into the fold this time in place of Guillaume Hoarau. Ezequiel Lavezzi may also keep his place but Nene is back in training (wearing a protective mask) after fracturing his cheekbone several weeks back.
Our opponents tomorrow will provide a real stern test. After an indifferent start to the season, they really have hit some form in recent weeks with the victories over Lille and Montpellier the standouts.
Former Parisien striker Mevlut Erding will make his return to the Parc des Princes. He is Les Rouges et Noirs top scorer with six goals this term. He has netted in all but one of his last six games for club and country (Turkey) but did get himself sent off in the defeat to Saint-Etienne at the back end of October.
Note: Along with Zlatan, defenders Gregory Van der Wiel and Mamadou Sakho are also suspended.