Paris Saint-Germain vs FC Nantes
We were unable to hit top spot on Wednesday night but the champions have another opportunity to do so this evening if we beat Nantes at the Parc des Princes.
This is the final game before that epic clash with FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou next week where a result will take us through as group winners ahead of the draw for the knock-out stages of the UEFA Champions League. Coach Laurent Blanc will no doubt make his customary pre-European changes tonight with the likes of Adrien Rabiot, Marquinhos, Lucas Digne and Serge Aurier coming in. The gaffer cannot be too trigger happy though as a slip-up will be a major disappointment. We had an opportunity to go top in Lille but we were up against a real resolute side that made it particularly difficult for us in the second-half.
Today will be no different. Yes, our home form is formidable but FCN will be up for this. They have hit a bit of inconsistent form as of late, including a 2-0 defeat away to Marseille. Nevertheless, Les Canaris are 8th in the table and just four points off a Europa League place. Qualification for Europe may be a stretch too far but the fact they are in touching distance with the winter break looming is some going for Michel Der Zakarian’s men.
Scoring goals has been a problem for them though, netting just 14 times. Only Montpellier has a worse attack in the whole of Ligue 1. The young man Jordan Veretout has been their shining light with five goals to his name and four assists. It just emphasises how important the lad is as he plays just behind the striker.
As for us, we have no fresh injury doubts with exception to Jean-Chrsitophe Bahebeck who has a slight groin problem. Thiago Motta has been rested but Marco Verratti should start to give him game time after his injury layoff. Blanc confirmed this in yesterday’s pre-match presser; “Between the players who are playing a lot and those coming back from injury, the match against Nantes is very important. Nantes will be preparation for some, from the being on the pitch, or off it. Certain players may be rested, such as Thiago Motta, for example. As for Marco Verratti, he needs to play to get back into top form. We need him”.
It can be easy for minds to wander elsewhere with such a huge game coming up against Barcelona. We have been no strangers to this in the past but today is an opportunity to crank the pressure on Marseille who play tomorrow. We can go two points clear at the top which will give us a little bit of leeway considering how far behind we were back in October.