Paris Saint-Germain vs OGC Nice
Paris Saint-Germain are in an incredible run of form at the moment. It is the best since Chelsea ended our sequence of 11 consecutive victories back in April. Today, we can be just two shy of that tally again if we notch up a victory against Claude Puel’s Nice.
The win over Ajax on Tuesday was not without its flaws. We were undoubtedly outplayed in terms of ball retention against a very impressive set of young players. Laurent Blanc acknowledged that in his pre-match presser yesterday at Camp des Loges by saying; “I think our players are built more for constructing, than destroying the play. On Tuesday, Ajax were better than us in using the ball. We had the intention of imposing our style of play on them, but it didn’t happen the way we envisaged. In the end we won 3-1, which means that sometimes we are able to adapt to a different scenario”.
He is right. We had to dig in, just as we did against Metz last Friday. But the most crucial point is that we had to rely on a piece of magic by Zlatan Ibrahimovic to swing the tide back in our favour after the Dutch had equalised. They were the ones on top during that period and if the big Swede hadn’t conjured up that fantastic goal, then who knows what might have happened? In the end lady luck was indeed smiling as Edinson Cavani profited from a dreadful back-pass to make it 3-1.
With Marseille being victorious last night against Nantes, we are four points off the southerners. Victory is needed against a Nice side who are without a win in their last three league games – as well as a penalty shootout defeat to Metz in the Coupe de la Ligue. Their last victory culminated in that incredible 7-2 score line over Guingamp at the Stade de Roudourou. They even went behind in that game when Claudio Beauvue put EAG in front. Nevertheless, the defending from the home side was catastrophic. They gave the ball away cheaply and were duly punished. Carlo Alberto, on loan from Portuguese giants FC Porto, scored five goals in that game (the first player to do that in Ligue 1 since 1984) with his hat-trick coming in the first-half. He has only netted one other goal and that was against Monaco but is the club’s leading goal scorer with six.
This Nice side does have talent. They are quick on the counter-attack so PSG will be wary of that. They kept their first-clean sheet since September in a 0-0 draw with Reims last weekend which stopped the rot. Puel will have been pleased by that, although SDR could have nicked it with a glorious chance squandered by Gregory Bourillon.
Didier Digard is missing for OGCN with former Parisian Mathieu Bodmer out with a rib injury.
As for us, both Thiagos are back! Motta and Silva. Marco Verratti is still struggling though. Yohan Cabaye, Clement Chantome, Jean Christophe-Bahebeck and Nicolas Douchez are also out.