It is brilliant as a supporter when the good news just keeps on coming. The win in Europe last week, followed by the extension of Thiago Motta’s contract and then a Zlatan inspired win in Toulouse was not bad but this week is on par.
We were finally put out of our misery with the news that every Paris Saint-Germain supporter wanted to hear and that was Blaise Matuidi signing a new long-term contract until 2018. That was then swiftly followed yesterday by one of the most underrated player in the team Maxwell, extending his deal by a further year. I think the club have to be applauded for tying down integral members of the team that will be fundamental again in any future success. It is also good for the players to know that their efforts are recognised. Marco Verratti will most probably given a wage increase in the coming weeks and coach Laurent Blanc will inevitably sign a new long-term deal after the sterling work he’s done thus far. Just keep that good news coming!
And if we are to keep the smiles on our faces for a little while longer, Olympique Marseille will be chomping at the bit to wipe them off. Le Classique is tomorrow! It is still the biggest game in France despite the emergence of Monaco. Sure, OM are not in the title picture this year but they are seeking that third Champions League spot which is being contested for by roughly five teams. Mathieu Valbuena said his side “have nothing to lose”, and in a sense he is right. They have been in disarray for large parts this season which cost Ellie Baup his job and the atmosphere there has been pretty flat. Jose Anigo to his credit has steadied the ship. Even though they were knocked out of both cup competitions, including a thriller against Nice, they have so much left to play for.
The target is that third spot and it is a realistic one. The form of late has been good, including three efficient wins at the Velodrome against Lorient, Bastia and lowly Valenciennes. A decent point in Saint-Etienne was obtained in the midst of that too. It will not be Anigo’s first classique – having experienced them in his previous tenure as coach – but he paid PSG respect in his pre-match presser, admitting there is an aura around Les Parisiens that intimidates teams. But, I cannot see OM being intimidated at all tomorrow despite our good form, especially at the Parc.
Les Phoceens will make it difficult for us and we may only be two points ahead of Monaco come kick-off if they defeat Saint-Etienne away – something they have not done since 2007. But, that should not enter the players’ minds but it will be a niggling factor if that win for ASM comes to fruition. Thankfully, ‘El Matador’ is back! Edinson Cavani after a month out is available. Le Parisien believes that he will start on the bench and this is the likely scenario, especially with the form of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Lucas Moura being pretty decent in the last three games.
You never know what to expect in these clashes. Plenty of emotion for one but for one team or the other (or both), there is usually something riding on them for different reasons. Three points for us would be a huge step towards retaining the title, yet a win for Marseille would enhance their Champions League aspirations by a mile! But OM need to be warned that we have not lost at the Parc in the league for 25 games, since November 2012.
Let the fireworks commence!