Paris Saint-Germain VS AC Ajaccio
Venue: Parc des Princes
Date: 18th August 2013
Kick-Off: 20:00 (GMT)
Tomorrow will be a homecoming for the champions as Laurent Blanc takes charge of his troops for the first time at the Parc des Princes. After last week’s battling draw in Montpellier, Les Parisiens will be looking to obtain their first win of the campaign against an Ajaccio team now coached by former Italian international Fabrizio Ravanelli.
Last week’s result had its flaws but there were also positives to take. Blanc set up his team in a standard 4-4-2 which he had done all pre-season with Ezequiel Lavezzi partnering Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front. Luas Moura and Javier Pastore unsurprisingly provided the width with ‘El Flaco’ happy to come inside when he could.
The first-half was pretty abject and with MHSC opening the scoring in the 11th minute with an acute finish by Remy Cabella it made us dumbstruck somewhat for the entirety of that opening period. Things picked up significantly in the second-half and Maxwell bagged his second consecutive goal at the Stade de la Mosson to equalise on the hour mark. If anyone looked like scoring in that second-half it was us and Adrien Rabiot very nearly headed home a winner via a corner but was undone by Geoffrey Joudren’s swift hands.
The biggest plus of the night was of course Edinson Cavani finally making his long awaited debut. Even though he was only on the pitch for 20 minutes he showed glimpses of his movement as well as his potency as a goal bound effort of his was denied by former Parisien Siaka Tiene’s trailing leg.
Not the worst result in the world by any means but it is evident that 4-4-2 is here to stay with Monsieur Blanc in charge and undoubtedly Cavani / Ibra will be the focal point of that. Blanc hinted in his pre-match presser yesterday that Cavani may start despite not being 100% match fit. If that is the case he will have to make the decision to drop – presumably – Pastore and Lavezzi to accommodate the Uruguayan.
10 PSG players were off on international duty in the week. Maxwell finally made his long overdue debut for Brazil against Switzerland which was a lovely moment for him. But, not for the first time Ibra stole the show as he netted a hat-trick for Sweden against Scandinavian rivals Norway (see the video on the site’s Twitter feed).
With Ibra making headlines on the pitch it was a defender making noises off it. Mamadou Sakho looks to be seeking a move away from the Parc des Princes, harbouring regular first-team football to bolster his chances of making France’s World Cup squad next summer. Blanc has confirmed that Sakho has expressed a wish to seek pastures new if his situation does not change and with Liverpool sniffing around, there could be some movement there. I have said countless times this would be a mistake for the club to let go one of their own – an immensely talented individual who was skipper at one point – considering how much he developed under the influence of Thiago Silva last season. It is a shame.
Back to the game tomorrow, the visitors have just come off the back of a defeat at home to Saint-Etienne where Brandao tapped home with ease in a 1-0 win. It is now five games without a win in the league for the Corsican side and you would not fancy them to end run tomorrow night. But they did stifle us twice last season with 0-0 draws and have done some decent business in the window by signing the experienced Benoit Pedretti from Lille as well as acquiring young talent such as Stefan Popescu and Denis Tonucci. And with the enigmatic veteran Adrian Mutu – top scorer with 11 goals last season – then the improbable could occur.
But, the champions should coast to victory here