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The feeling in Paris at this moment in time is a good one. Despite the bitterly cold days and nights that have cascaded the city this past week, the win on Friday night over Montpellier was a major step in seeking a third Ligue 1 title. On top of that, a visit of the world’s greatest football team tomorrow night has whet the appetite for everyone affiliated with the club since the draw was made over two weeks ago. It truly is a wonderful time to be a Paris Saint-Germain supporter.
The victory over MHSC on Friday was tough. We were up against the reigning champions who more than hold their own. Even their pocket of travelling supporters made their voices heard in a rampant Parc des Princes that had a resounding atmosphere all night. Being at the game myself, you just felt the relief when Kevin Gameiro popped up with the winner 10 minutes from time. The ground erupted as the blanket of flags the club had given to the supporters prior to the game began fluttering around the stadium. The fans were under no illusion as to how important that goal was in the club’s quest to end a 19-year hiatus without a league championship. Not only was it a match winner, but perhaps a title clincher. With Olympique Lyonnais losing at home to Sochaux on Sunday night it gives us a massive seven point cushion with eight games left to play. It truly is now our title to lose.
Now with Barcelona coming to town tomorrow, the excitement is just about to reach fever pitch. For days this has been the talk of the city. There has been nearly a million enquiries regarding tickets, the club shop on the Champs-Elysee is packed full of souvenirs for the occasion and the club played a montage on the big screens in the stadium on Friday promoting the game which was greeted with a roar by the Parisiens. This is it! No doubt the most obvious sign of the club’s rapid rise in the last 18-months, a glamour tie against the world’s best in the last-eight of the game’s most glittering competition.
I will be going into far more detail on the tie itself in my match preview which will be on site tomorrow morning but our performance on Friday does merit a positive perspective on our chances on Tuesday. Our football was pretty at times, not always fluent but we looked solid. Bar a few jitters we contained MHSC well and when push came to shove, we got the win. David Beckham and Kevin Gameiro made a difference coming off the bench proving we have versatility when we need it. On top of that we are still to welcome back Ezequiel Lavezzi and Lucas Moura who no doubt will be in contention.
Of course, Montpellier are nowhere near the calibre of the Catalan giants but coming into the game with a win, a feel good factor and most importantly confidence puts us in good stead. It is imperative to have these traits if we stand any chance.
If optimism, excitement and sheer elation were attributes for winning football games, then Paris Saint-Germain will be looking forward to a place in the semi-finals. The feel good factor is as true as it has ever been in Paris. Only Barcelona stands in our way of disrupting it somewhat.