PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN VS OGC NICE
VENUE: PARC DES PRINCES
DATE: 21ST APRIL 2013
KICK-OFF: 20:00 (GMT)
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Carlo Ancelotti and his Paris Saint-Germain players need to put the midweek disappointment to bed as quickly as possible and respond later tonight at home to Nice.
The chance to create history by capturing the club’s first league and cup double has unfortunately passed – for this season anyway. Going out in a whimper against Evian on penalties leaves a bitter taste but there is absolutely no point in dwelling on it. There is something much more bigger at stake and that is a league title which is well and truly in our grasp. Just three more wins will secure the club’s third Ligue 1 title and although it is easy to get ahead of ourselves, we are coming up against a team that is buoyant in Nice.
Our attitude needs to be spot on, no more room for lapses. Ancelotti will have drummed it into his players since that dreadful night in the week where he lamented the whole attitude of the team whilst indicating that some personnel were playing more for ‘themselves’. He has taken action by having the squad check into the team hotel a day earlier to keep their mind fixated on the task in hand tonight. The Italian was left hurting as he saw the majority of his players playing nowhere near the level they are capable of at the Parc des Sports and ultimately paid the price. As I said in one of my articles after the game, this is not the first time the team’s motivation has been an issue. But, I am sure we will see a different persona from Les Parisiens tonight in front of the home support.
Carlo has a fully fit squad to choose from with the exception of Thiago Motta who is suspended after his dismissal in the week. So, the likes of Lucas Moura and Ezequiel will no doubt start and provide us that pace we were severely lacking against Evian. Straight away our main artillery is back in terms of hitting Nice on the counter-attack. It is a ploy which has brought the very best out of the team and one which will reinvigorate Zlatan Ibrahimovic who perhaps had his least effective game in a Parisien shirt in the week – typified by his penalty miss in the shoot-out. Blaise Matuidi will come back into the centre of midfield alongside Marco Verratti which will give us a more varied dimension. Matuidi’s energy and Verratti’s technical prowess is the blend which we missed in the week. David Beckham and Thiago Motta who started in Evian are far too similar so neither could really take command in the middle and burst forward such as Matuidi. All in all we are going to see a much stronger PSG-XI which will play to its strengths and it will certainly bode well for us. As long as the attitude is right, there is no reason why we cannot put the game to bed.
Nevertheless, we are facing a team sitting fifth in the league and harbouring ambitions of a European place. Despite missing a number of personnel through injury and suspension they have the prolific Argentine Dario Cvitanich who has been one of the players of the season. Netting 14 goals to his name, it underlines just how remarkable a season it has been for a man who had struggled to hit any such form at his previous clubs for some time. His 19 goals in a season for Banfield back in 2008 secured a move to Dutch giants Ajax for €8m but it never really worked out for him at the Amsterdam Arena. He had a brief loan spell a Boca Juniors last year and it has given him a second wind which Le Gym are really prospering from. Certainly at €400,000, he has to be the bargain of the season.
Marseille closed the gap to six points with a win over Brest yesterday so if we want to ease the anxiety around the capital, a victory tonight is an absolute must.