The domestic treble is very much on and that quest can continue tomorrow night with victory over Nantes in the last-16 of the Coupe de France.
Sunday’s pulsating 1-1 draw with leaders Olympique Lyonnais was littered with positives. We left the Stade de Gerland with immense satisfaction but also an element of disappointment at not earning all three points. From pretty much the first minute we dominated proceedings but were undone by an excellent goal via Clinton N’Jie after Nabil Fekir set him up superbly with a pass that took three PSG defenders out of the equation. We came back in the second-half thanks to a controversial penalty scored by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He missed his initial spot-kick but was ordered to retake after referee Clement Turpin deemed that the Les Gones players encroached the 18-yard box.
Coach Laurent Blanc deserves an awful amount of credit it seems as he laid into his players at half-time. Blaise Matuidi said LB had some strong words to say at the break and it most evidently worked as Les Parisiens dominated till the end. But, could he have been a little more ambitious when we equalised? He brought off Edinson Cavani for Yohan Cabaye which indicated that he was happy with a point. You can understand that of course but Hubert Fournier’s young guns looked to be there for the taking.
Speaking of Cavani, he has come in for criticism since Sunday night after he missed a number of glorious chances – particularly the one on one with Anthony Lopes in the second-half. The coach gave him public support in his pre-match presser earlier and said he – along with the team – will do everything to help him. He dismissed suggestions of dropping the player because he does not want to damage his confidence – which is evidently low at the moment. He believes the goals will come soon!
One or two from El Matador tomorrow would not go amiss. One of France’s most prestigious clubs makes its way to the capital hoping to destroy our dream of a domestic treble. Les Canaris have won this competition three times before, the last being at the turn of the millennium back in 2000.
In the last round they beat the leaders Lyon in a dramatic 3-2 win thanks to a hat-trick from Vincent Bessat (his only goals of the season so far). They are without a win in their last three though in the league and this included a 4-0 defeat at the Stade de la Mosson to Montpellier.
Our last meeting at the beginning of the season resulted in a 2-1 win thanks to a Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace. Blanc rotated in that game as we had Barcelona in the Champions League four days later. Well, the Champions League returns next week with the visit of Chelsea and not to mention a game at the weekend against Caen. LB will most probably shuffle the pack tomorrow but he cannot afford to tweak too much. The visitors will be vying to knock us out with a place in the last-eight at stake.
It is going to be one of those evenings you feel where we will have to dig in deep. PSG never make things easy do they? Come tomorrow it will be no exception.