Valenciennes VS Paris Saint-Germain
Venue: Stade de Hainaut
Date: 15th September 2013
Kick-Off: 18:00 (GMT)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic penning a one-year contract extension till 2016 last night is a huge boost for the football club. It had been mooted for a good few months after negotiations with Thiago Silva led to him signing a new deal with a bumper wage increase. Marco Verratti also tied himself to Les Parisiens for a further year until 2018 and Nasser Al-Khelaifi is keen to sit down with Blaise Matuidi to discuss terms regarding a new deal for him.
Zlatan’s commitment to the club as well as his words are a testament to the direction the club is heading – the right one. Ibra told the club’s Official Website; “I don’t see a more ambitious club in Europe than Paris Saint-Germain. My wish is that Paris Saint-Germain is my last big club. This club is like me. The dream is never big enough.”
If you are keeping a player of the calibre of him happy then the club is certainly doing something right. He has been incessantly linked with moves away, flirting with a return to Italy on a number of occasions as well. But, this quashes any doubts now he may consider his options. Also, the fact that he and Edinson Cavani have forged a bond on the pitch dismisses any prior concerns that the relationship would be fractious. Cavani’s arrival put Ibra’s future in doubt, especially after Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis told Italian media the Swede would leave. Minds games perhaps but that is all they were. Zlatan is staying put, long live the king!
So it is a nice little pick me up heading into tonight’s trip to Valenciennes. The draw against Monaco on Sunday had its pros and cons. The fact that we took the lead but were unable to hold out for the win was disappointing but at the same time we were up against a very well structured outfit that are worthy contenders for the title. We played good football at times and bossed proceedings after the interval but the season is young, we are two points off the top, playing some decent football and kicked off our run in Europe last week with a win. We have been dealt a blow however with the injury picked up by the skipper Thiago Silva. It is being speculated that he could be out for around three to six weeks. With Mamadou Sakho now on Merseyside, it could come back to bite us; especially with Alex’s injury woe of late.
Judging our opponents recent form, three points should be a formality. But, as we seen against the likes of Reims last season we can easily slip up in matches like this – particularly after marquee games. It will be a test of the player’s attitude which was not at 100% last season away from home against ‘so called’ smaller clubs. It will be interesting to see how we react.
We are on an incredible 17-game unbeaten run in Ligue 1, stretching back to March – that defeat to Reims being the last. Valenciennes on the other hand have lost five consecutive matches and sit in 19th place. Their only win coming on the opening day of the season, an impressive one too at home to Toulouse who we face at the weekend.
With Lille and Marseille earning victories last night we have slipped to fourth but a win will propel us back into second. With Monaco at home to Bastia, a game they should win, it is imperative we obtain all three points tonight.