Stade Rennais VS Paris Saint-Germain
Venue: Stade de la Route de Lorient
Date: 14th December 2013
Kick-Off: 16:00 (GMT)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic said it best in an interview with the club’s Official Site during the week; “The team is amazing & we have a great atmosphere at the club that I haven’t experienced in my career. But the squad is fantastic, everyone wants to help each other, make sacrifices for each other. We are working hard every day”. For a player who has won multiple league championships and played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe, it remonstrates the incredible work being done at the football club.
That desire and the will to help one another were put to good use last weekend. The 2-0 defeat away to Evian could easily have wobbled the wheels on a frenetic train going at full tilt. Yet, the response in the days that transpired was superb. Drubbing Sochaux 5-0 may not sound overly impressive considering their plight but the sheer domination of the match which was controlled from start to finish was exemplary. The big characters in the side performed yet again, no more so than Ibrahimovic and his partner in crime up top Edinson Cavani. Arguably, player of the season Thiago Motta illustrated his importance to the team as ever in an unselfish manner by teeing up Ezequiel Lavezzi to score. The Argentine’s future has been continuously questioned this past week with rumours over a move back to Italy with Internazionale. Yes, his form has been patchy for several weeks now but people tend to forget his importance to the cause. There are very few players that will do the sort of job he does for the good of the team. He has had to sacrifice many of his own attributes in order to be in the team and let’s face it, he does a sterling job in that respect. That is why Laurent Blanc has him in his teams when in matters.
The incident with Motta is a sign of what Ibra is talking about though. Here is a player who has only scored three goals for PSG yet he felt the need to give his teammate a pick me up with an easy finish. It really was commendable.
There are no injury concerns – with exception to Christophe Jallet – ahead of the trip to Rennes. Victory tomorrow will be huge heading into the final game of the year against title contenders Lille at the Parc des Princes. There is an opportunity to make it three straight years as ‘Winter Champions’. That title will have no significant benefit except for a boost to the morale once the season recommences in 2014.
Trips to the Stade de la Route de Lorient have been near mission impossible. It was only up until last season that we ended 11 years without a victory there. SRFC have always been plucky and stubborn but this seems a better time as any to face them. Currently 13th in the table, they have only won one in their last six which was against Saint-Etienne.