Paris Saint-Germain supporters were more than grateful to Lille last weekend as they held AS Monaco to a 1-1 draw. Following our win in Lorient, the gap now stands at a whopping 10 points – 11 if you consider our superior goal difference. The retention of the title seems to be etching ever closer and it is easy to get ahead of ourselves. But, with a game against Nice tomorrow night which can extend the lead to 13 points, we have that tantalising first-leg in the last-eight of the Champions League against English leaders Chelsea on Wednesday.
Laurent Blanc must keep his star personnel mentally and physically prepared for a game that will be a tactically draining. Jose Mourinho will come to the Parc des Princes, look to suffocate our midfield and hit us on the counter-attack where they can hurt just about any team on the planet. Blanc, as he always does, will rotate his team prior to a Champions League fixture and he can certainly afford to again. Our lead at the top is unassailable at this moment in time. Even the most pessimistic of supporters must feel that we are on the cusp of winning back to back league titles for the first time in the club’s history. We have more than enough in reserve to beat l’OGCN. Thiago Silva will most probably be rested after fracturing his cheek bone. The likes of Yohan Cabaye and Adrien Rabiot will come into central midfield. Our midfield is going to be busy on Wednesday so we need a fully fit Blaise Matuidi who will most probably be rested, along with Thiago Motta. Gregory Van der Wiel is still struggling with his knee so he will be out indefinitely, leaving Chrsitophe Jallet to get more game time under his belt. Then of course up top, Blanc may just feel inclined to put Edinson Cavani as the centre-forward instead of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. There is plenty to ponder for the gaffer but he has the depth to do it.
One man who could start tomorrow is Jeremy Menez. But, after his comments about Blanc this week he could be frozen out. He said that Blanc does not understand him and he was closer to former coach Carlo Ancelotti. He effectively went on to say that his career in Paris is over come the end of the season (out of contract) and is eyeing a move back to Italy.
The performance in Brittany last week was below standard but the important thing was the win. Especially as we played on that infamous artificial pitch at the Stade du Moustoir. In the end, what a result it was? Monaco were unable to match it and succumbed to a 1-1 draw with Champions League chasing Lille. They have a trip to Evian on Saturday and you do fancy them to pick up the win. Saying that, the form we are in is incredible, so a win tomorrow looks more than likely although Blanc will rotate things. If I am to be pessimistic, even a draw would be decent. The main topic is of course these two games with Chelsea. Wednesday is going to be difficult but if we play to our strengths, we can go back to London with every chance of going through.
It is a defining time of the season for Les Parisiens, where Blanc’s qualities will be truly tested.