If Paris Saint-Germain had the choice, they would much rather be in the 8TH Finals of the Coupe de France instead of the Coupe de la Ligue. It is hard to say that without sounding disrespectful to the competition but you get the sense of what I am implying. Nevertheless, tomorrow night could seal a date in April at the Stade de France with a piece of silverware up for grabs. Make no bones about it, Laurent Blanc and his players will be itching for a win tomorrow at what will be a rowdy Stade de la Beaujoire against Nantes.
Even though we dominated FCN just a few weeks ago with a 5-0 victory – a performance that was as good a team performance you will see – we will be up against an entirely different side. In front of their home supporters that create one of the better atmospheres in French football, the eight-time Ligue 1 champions will be desperate to continue their fairy-tale return to the top flight and give themselves a chance at winning a first ever Coupe de la Ligue title.
We overcame them on their stomping ground all the way back in September which was incidentally our first win of the campaign. On that night, Edinson Cavani netted a goal as he did in the demolition at the Parc last month. But, we have been a dealt a major blow as he picked up a thigh injury at the weekend against Bordeaux. It has ruled him out for three weeks and will miss tomorrow, the top of the table clash with Monaco and the first-leg of the Champions League last-16 with Bayer Leverkusen. It is an injury that is similar to what the skipper Thiago Silva suffered at the beginning of the season which ruled him out for seven weeks. It is a huge blow. An ever present starter, Blanc must now consider carefully which two players are going to play wide off Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Lucas Moura was immense on Friday night so he should retain his spot, leaving it out of the likes of Javier Pastore, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Jeremy Menez. Blanc may feel Lavezzi will be the safer bet for his energy.
Marco Verratti is back from suspension. He is likely to start with Blaise Matuidi and Thiago Motta in central midfield even though Yohan Cabaye had a decent run out during his debut last Friday.
It has been six years since the last time PSG last won this trophy. It was a period when Les Parisiens were more of a cup team and had distant ambitions at challenging at the top of the table. It may be an entirely different Paris Saint-Germain these days but one that will do its utmost to get the job done tomorrow night. Allez PSG!