The Coupe de la Ligue would have been bottom of Paris Saint-Germain’s priorities this season but there is no time to scoff at an opportunity of winning a piece of major silverware. After a week of uncertainty following two successive defeats, Laurent Blanc will be under no illusions at the enormity of tonight. Defeat for Paris will pose more questions about his future as well as the mental state of the players. But a final, at the Stade de France, in Paris, is a beautiful situation to be in.
The club has not won a CDL title since 2008 where Bernard Mendy netted in injury time to seal a 2-1 win over Lens. This time around we are up against an Olympique Lyonnais side that beat us last Sunday at the Stade de Gerland and that will have given Remi Garde’s men immense belief at a repeat performance. It has been 13 years since OL last won this trophy and they will be chomping at the bit to erase that. But, the good news for us is that they are missing five personnel including the match winner from last Sunday Jordan Ferri who is suspended.
The situation we have found ourselves in has been largely down to the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He is our talisman, everything goes through him in attack and Laurent Blanc eluded to that in yesterday’s pre-match presser. The fact we have not scored in the last two in a season where we have been so prolific is slightly worrying. Blanc said; “When you lose Ibra, a player so important to your style, then that changes everything. You can compensate for his loss but the style changes because Edinson’s style is not exactly the same as Ibra’s.We haven’t scored in the last two games and we need to get our effectiveness in front of goal back”.
The onus will indeed be on Cavani again who has been struggling ever since he returned from injury. The form he showed just before and after the winter break has diminished but if ever there was a time to get back on track, it is tonight!
This is the first major final under the QSI ownership and even though the Coupe de la Ligue was not high on their agenda, it is an opportunity to make history. Many of these players will be desperate to add another honour to the list following the league triumph last year and will give them that taste ahead of the imminent retention.