Paris Saint-Germain vs SC Bastia
The first home game of the season and we are already bumping into a familiar face. Former assistant coach Claude Makelele will bring his Bastia team to the Parc des Princes after a valiant 3-3 draw against Marcelo Bielsa’s Marseille last weekend. Even though he is adorning the crest of another club, he still took the time to get one over on OM who were leading 3-1 at one point. Merci for that Claude!
Tomorrow however he will have cause for optimism after our skipper Thiago Silva was ruled out for at least a month with a hamstring injury. The Brazilian of course picked it up last Monday in Naples during a friendly that was part of the Ezequiel Lavezzi deal. A lot has been made of the circumstances surrounding the incident, some blaming Laurent Blanc (myself being one of those), others blaming the player himself for insisting that he should play. Whichever way you look at it, it is not a great situation. I felt personally Blanc should have put his foot down and told him no. But, at the same time a player of Silva’s experience should know when enough is enough. After playing 90 minutes just three days before in Reims – having had just three days training – common sense should have told him to sit this one out.
Blanc in his presser took full responsibility for the incident by saying; “Thiago Silva didn’t come back too soon. We are all talking about this injury and if you have to find a guilty party, then that’s me. I take full responsibility for this injury. Last season we did the same thing with him and it wasn’t a problem for anyone”.
His absence leaves a massive void, no doubt about it. David Luiz will have to become acquainted with Marquinhos – and fast – as they will be the centre-back pairing for the next four weeks at least, possibly including a Champions League group-stage opener.
DL put in a decent shift on Monday, showing glimpses of his ability to bring the ball out from the back. For me however the bigger question mark is over Marquinhos whose form in pre-season was sketchy to say the least, not to mention his role in Stade de Reims’ second goal last Friday. The pair of them needs to be conscious of leaving too much space behind, as we saw with the Napoli opener as they did us on the counter-attack.
Blanc has been thoroughly impressed with Luiz’s start to life at Camp des Loges but is under no illusion that he still needs to be monitored carefully after the emotion of the World Cup; “My first impressions about him are very good. Even if he still needs to get used to his new club and the environment, I think he was very good against Napoli on Monday. But we still have to be careful with him, because the post-World Cup periods can be tricky. The players are not always ready straight away but their clubs need them too”.
Back to the game, Makelele is not the only face we know arriving at the Parc tomorrow. Alphonse Areola, the possible future number one goalkeeper of PSG, is on a season-long loan at the Corsicans. Winner of the under-20 FIFA World Cup last summer with France, he is now about to enjoy his first full season as a top flight goalkeeper. Everyone affiliated at Les Parisiens has high hopes for this kid who hopes to be the future number one at the club.
We enjoyed a 4-0 victory in the fixture last October with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani both netting a brace each. Something similar tomorrow will be perfect to get our titlr defence truly up and running.