STADE DE REIMS VS PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
VENUE: STADE AUGUSTE-DELAUNE II
DATE: 2ND MARCH 2013
KICK-OFF: 16:00 (GMT)
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It really has been a terrific week for the club. Two classique victories back to back, more or less putting Marseille out of the title picture whilst booking a place in the last eight of the Coupe de France. On top of that, David Beckham has silenced a few critics who lambasted the club for signing someone who they perceived as nothing more than a money making machine. The 37-year-old put those sceptics in their place with an accomplished performance on Wednesday where he statistically created more passes and chances than any other player on the pitch. Not bad for a player way past his peak, right?
Now attention turns back to our title surge and a short visit to Stade de Reims later today. We have a real opportunity to put ourselves six points clear of Lyon – for the time being at least – before they travel to Brest tomorrow. We need to be careful though and not fall into the trap as we did against Sochaux. We missed an almighty opportunity to earn three points there and ended up losing 3-2 in a torrid night – arguably our worst performance of the season. It is also imperatives that the players’ minds are on the task in hand instead of being on the huge second-leg clash with Valenica on Wednesday in the Champions League last-16. Carlo Ancelotti said in his pre-match presser yesterday; “We’re not thinking about the match against Valencia yet. We are focused on the next game”. So, let’s hope he’s right.
Reims are sitting just above the bottom three and have only won one league game in the last 18. Their form has been horrendous after a really bright start to the season before falling off the rails in October. Their 2-1 win away to Nancy last month has ultimately put them out of the bottom three for the time being but they are under no illusion that something has to radically change for them to beat the drop back to Ligue 2.
Their main man up top Gaeten Courtet has scored 8 league goals this season but he missed a huge chunk of fixtures during the winter period via injury which did not help his teams course. Now, he is fully fit, back in the team and has impressively scored four goals in his last eight. He will be the hosts’ main focal point later today.
As for us, David Beckham will not start the game (having played 85 minutes in the week) Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed but he is in the squad. So, Marco Verratti will return to the side alongside Blaise Matuidi and possibly Clement Chantome keeping his place depending on how PSG set-up. Thiago Silva is not ready for this game but will hopefully be in contention for the clash against Valencia, as too Thiago Motta. Lucas Moura is back, as is his compatriot Alex. Gregory Van der Wiel who had his best game to date in a Parisien shirt will retain his place as Christophe Jallet is out with a hamstring injury.