Paris Saint-Germain did their job last Friday away to Rennes. The 1-0 victory in Brittany not only registered the club’s 700th top flight victory out of 1587 fixtures since 1971, it has also opened up a 10-point gap at the top ahead of second-placed Lyon. It has put us in an enviable position and the fact that coach Laurent Blanc changed much of the team last Friday emphasises the confidence he has in the squad.
It was not the best of games versus Rennes but Angel di Maria’s third league strike for the club in the 75th minute ensured all three points were to return to the capital.
Ezequiel Lavezzi played as the main striker with ADM and Lucas Moura opposite either side. The centre of midfield was an all French affair complemented by Blaise Matuidi, Benjamin Stambouli and Adrien Rabiot. Two of the aforementioned were replaced after the hour mark by Thiago Motta and Marco Verratti. It was little Marco who played a part in the goal with his long ball over the top for Lucas who did well to pick out an incoming Di Maria to finish on the half volley.
The likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani were given the night off with the clash against Madrid in mind tomorrow night.
Since our first meeting with Los Blancos two weeks ago, they have won two on the bounce – both 3-1 victories over Celta Vigo and Las Palmas. Unsurprisingly Cristiano Ronaldo has been amongst the goals but another who has is Jese. He was arguably the best player on the pitch at the Parc des Princes two weeks ago and is expected to start again tomorrow. He put in a standout performance against Las Palmas, so with Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema ruled out again, he will start.
Someone who is returning after missing the clash in Paris is James Rodriguez. He is in the Madrid squad along with Luka Modric who was a doubt. James has yet to make an appearance in the UCL this season having struggled with a hamstring injury.
Real coach Rafael Benitez was very complimentary towards Les Parisiens in his pre-match presser earlier. The Spaniard said; “Paris are one of the best teams in Europe, there is no doubt about that. The arrival of players like Angel Di Maria has made them grow even more. I hope that on Tuesday we won’t see this team at their best; that would mean that we had done our jobs well. In any case, we have a lot of respect for this team.”
Our skipper Thiago Silva sent out a message loud and clear with his words. He told the club’s official site; “We will travel to Madrid looking to play our football and defeat Real. We can still play a good game in Spain, despite the fact that we just drew 0-0 at home. When we play against a very strong side like this, it’s 50-50. Both sides can win. I think we will play better in Madrid than we did in Paris. At the Parc des Princes, we were obliged to win because we were playing at home. Real will feel obliged to win the return, so our attackers can perhaps take advantage of a little more space.”
Javier Pastore is ruled out with conjunctivitis and Marquinhos has a hamstring complaint.
Whoever comes out on tp tomorrow will be in pole position to finish as group winners. Having being pipped to the post by Barcelona last season, PSG may just look to surprise a few tomorrow by getting a positive result.