Paris Saint-Germain vs AS Monaco
If PSG’s players are more inclined to perform in the big games then they must be licking their lips ahead of tonight as last season’s title rivals Monaco make the trip to the Parc des Princes.
The euphoria from Tuesday night has just continued throughout the week but Laurent Blanc said in yesterday’s presser that the players need to forget about that and focus on the task in hand. The fact that PSG seemingly perform in big games has been a talking point for the past three seasons. It is true that they perform better in the Champions League. The difference in performance from the one against Barca to the previous few weeks are a million miles apart. It if frustrating that they cannot play like that every week but it is a mental flaw. Blanc swept aside the assumption that his team play better in the bigger games but did admit they are far more focused when it comes to European nights; “I hear every now and then that Paris chooses its matches. It’s true that the players prepare for the Champions League games with a lot of determination, but that doesn’t mean they don’t focus on Ligue 1. Let’s forget about Tuesday’s game and focus on a big match for us, coming up on Sunday against Monaco”.
We are up against a team lacking in star quality. Their two biggest purchases from last season James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao are now playing their football elsewhere. The financial predicament Monaco were in to abide to FFP meant they had to cash in – particularly letting Falcao leave for Manchester in a lucrative one year loan deal. Owner Dmitry Rybolovlev’s sums just did not match what UEFA expect. The relegation to Ligue 2 was a primary reason for having to let players go but getting into the Champions League was hugely beneficial in the long run. For Ligue 1, it is a pity. Two of the poster boys of the league are now plying their trade in arguably the two biggest leagues in England and Spain. There is no denying this has severely weakened Leonardo Jardim’s team but are they still a contender for the title? Well, their poor start suggests not, especially when you see Marseille riding high with 22 points. ASM are in 14th, just four points behind ourselves. Defeat for them will mean they will be 12 points off the pace. It may be October but that will be too much ground to make up.
As important tonight is for Les Rouges et Blancs, it is vital for us too. Marseille’s 2-1 win in Caen yesterday has put them eight points ahead. They are playing the best football in Ligue 1 at the moment which epitomises the nature of their coach Marcelo Bielsa. Quite simply, I would say this is a must win for both sides which should deliver a fascinating clash. We must take the positives from Tuesday night into this and capitalise. If we play anywhere near as we did on the night, we will get the three points.
It has not been all sweetness and nice though as we have been dealt a huge blow with news that Marquinhos could be out for two months with a hamstring injury. He will miss tonight of course but Laurent Blanc will be relieved that Thiago Silva should return after the international break against Lens. Nevertheless, it is a real shame for Marquinhos and the team. Our defence has been as solid as it’s been for a while. The partnership he and David Luiz have forged has been one of the highlights of the season so far. Just wish him a speedy recovery because he has been an absolute star.