TROYES AC VS PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
VENUE: STADE DE L’AUBE
DATE: 13TH APRIL 2013
KICK-OFF: 16:00 (GMT)
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Wednesday night was a defining one for Paris Saint-Germain. The football club gained recognition throughout the world for their sterling performance in the Camp Nou against Barcelona. Only a late Pedro strike was the difference in preventing us a place in the semi-finals of Europe’s elite competition but that will not dampen the spirits of anyone affiliated to the club. It was a real sign that Les Parisiens has the capability to compete on the big stage. We may not have a date booked with Bayern Munich in the semi-finals but we can certainly go 10 points clear in Ligue 1 this afternoon with a win over Troyes.
It could be a day that sends us another step closer to securing the capital club’s third league title. Coming up against a team sitting rock bottom in the league and destined for Ligue 2, we have a wonderful chance to go into a double figure lead ahead of Marseille who face a more than tricky test against an in-form Lille side tomorrow.
Today’s opponents ESTAC have given a brave account of themselves since they gained promotion last season but it looks as if they will be heading back to the second-tier of French football. They have only won four games all season – all at home – so they may well take heart from that and try and make our visit as uncomfortable as possible. We did however thump them 4-0 at the Parc des Princes last November with Zlatan Ibrahimovic netting a brace. The good thing for Troyes this time around is that the Swede is missing due to suspension.
Troyes will be relying on their veteran and talisman Benjamin Nivet. The 36-year-old midfielder has banged in nine goals this season and is the club’s leading goalscorer which is remarkable, not only due to his age, but also down to the fact that this is his first season at the club. He did endure relegation with Caen last season and looks destined to succumb to the same fate again in the next few weeks.
As for ourselves, Carlo Ancelotti has stated that changes will be made after the players exerted so much energy in the game in Catalonia. Thiago Motta had a superb performance in his comeback game following his injury woe and Carlo may opt to rest him as a precaution. Blaise Matuidi will return having missed the game in midweek due to suspension and should line up alongside Marco Verratti who had a terrific game against the Blaugrana. Depending on the formation, David Beckham will perhaps also line up in central midfield if a 4-3-3 Is utilised. With Zlatan suspended, Kevin Gameiro should lead the line but the last time he started he was ushered out wide where he was ineffective. If Ancelotti opts for two up top, he will partner Ezequiel Lavezzi as Lucas Moura and Javier Pastore provide the width.
Ancelotti will ring the changes but he is also under no illusion how vital a win today could be in our title hunt. Going 10 points clear at this point would be huge!