PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN VS FC PORTO
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
VENUE: PARC DES PRINCES
DATE: 4TH DECEMBER 2012
KICK-OFF: 19:45 (GMT)
Qualification into the knock-outs stages has been secured for Paris Saint-Germain but the chance to go through as group winners is up for grabs against Portuguese champions FC Porto.
It is a straight shoot-out between both clubs, with FCP having qualified themselves for the chance to have – perhaps – a more favourable draw for the last-16. Saying that, the likes of Real Madrid and AC Milan will finish runners-up in their groups and the winners from the clash tonight could see them pitting their wits against the aforementioned come next February.
Nevertheless, Carlo Ancelotti will want to get the job done tonight after a troublesome few days for the club. Question marks have been raised regarding the Italian’s future with reports linking Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola to his job. It is a scenario he is going to have to deal with till the end of the season. Just like his final year at Chelsea, his position was under scrutiny and I am afraid it is going to be more of the same. The defeat in Nice was damaging. The media outlets have been in uproar in Paris and the fact that a poll asked the Parisien faithful ‘Is Ancelotti up to the job?’ a resounding 67% said no.
Tonight is an opportunity to start putting things right but is going to be far from straight forward. Porto absolutely battered us at the Dragao back in October, playing us off the park and peppering Salvatore Sirigu’s goal all night. They handed us our first defeat this season in any competition and were full value for the win.
They sit top of Group A at the moment with 13 points, just a point ahead of ourselves. A draw will suit them but they will still look to win the game.
Their domestic form is scary. Unbeaten all season, netting 26 goals and conceding just six, they sit joint top of the table with Benfica. They did however get beat in the cup at the weekend at the hands of Braga but rested a lot of their marquee names for tonight.
Colombian duo James Rodriguez and Jackson Martinez are the major threat. The pair have scored 21 goals between them this campaign in all competitions. Martinez will lead the line of attack on his own with Rodriguez down the right-hand side and Silvestre Varela on the opposite. The three of them caused us havoc in Porto and hopefully Ancelotti will be better prepared this time around.
The Italian is hopeful his team can get the job done and said in his pre-match presser; “First place is up for grabs, so this is a very important match. Winning will almost certainly mean a better draw in the last 16. On Tuesday, it will be very important to play well, to look for the win, to get our confidence back. We need to focus on this match to finish top of the group and to do that we need to change our attitude on the pitch.”
Note: Marco Verratti and Salvatore Sirigu are fit and back in the squad.