Three points tonight away to Saint-Etienne will be massive for Paris Saint-Germain! Not only will it put some leeway between ourselves and Les Verts in the table but we will also go level on points with second-placed Olympique Marseille who were beaten by Nice on Friday night.
You cannot knock the last three results. Three consecutive wins, with one actually coming at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in the Coupe de la Ligue two weeks ago. That was the turning point and a victory that was imperative for Laurent Blanc. Defeat there and I dread to think what the repercussions would have been in the Parisian press. The victory over Evian last weekend showed character after going a goal down and for the first 45-minutes against Bordeaux in the week, we absolutely coasted. Bar a jittery opening 10 minutes into the second-half, we were in total control of that game. Also you have to bear in mind that we were missing a few key players but the fresh legs definitely galvanised the team. We looked much sharper than we have done since the turn of the year.
The only notable absentee from the group tonight is Gregory Van der Wiel who has an injured toe. That means Marquinhos will continue at right-back. David Luiz who was rested in the week will come back in at centre-back to partner the skipper Thiago Silva. Another Thiago – Motta – was also rested in midweek in which Yohan Cabaye excelled in his position. The Frenchman has given Blanc some food for thought because his diverse passing was cutting FCGB up at times last Wednesday. Motta though put in a very good performance against Christophe Galtier’s men in that meeting over a week and half back – even though he made a mistake that nearly resulted in a goal for the home side. Although Cabaye was terrific in the week, it would be a surprise if Blanc starts him ahead of the Azzurri international.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will undoubtedly start after his rest. Edinson Cavani was excellent as the central striker during the week and with Ibra’s form being questioned, the Swede needs to deliver tonight you feel; just as he did in the meeting at the Parc des Princes last August where he bagged a hat-trick. Yes, their goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier had a torrid performance but you still need to put the ball in the back of the net. And in all honestly, Ibra has not been the same since that night following his injury woes.
Not part of the squad this evening, Clement Chantome is practically on the verge of leaving the club as the midfielder looks set for a move to Bordeaux. Their president Jean-Louis Triaud says they are willing to be patient in order to conclude a deal with Les Parisiens. It looks as if it is just a matter of agreeing compensation.
Saint-Etienne were involved in an incredible cup tie against Ligue 2 strugglers Tours during the week. They were taken the distance and more as they netted two goals to win 5-3 in extra-time.
Their coach Galtier was very complementary to us during his pre-match presser on Friday. He insists that Les Parisiens will be champions again come the spring – even though his side sit a point just behind us. Galtier said; “Paris is and will be champions at the end of the season. PSG are the best team in the league and one of the best in Europe”.