When you are an Javier Pastore aficionado like myself and been deprived of his football elegance for such a long time, it is quite a thrill to see him named in the PSG squad for tonight’s game against Bastia.
A string of bad luck has plagued 1970 PSG’s Player of the Season for 2014/15 in recent months. He had conjunctivitis – which is a nasty infection to have – and as he was overcoming that he picked up a groin injury in training.
It seemed as if he would return before the winter break but it just never materialised. Laurent Blanc said last month he was hoping to see him back in action for the new year and orchestrate the form that revitalised his career last season.
Whether or not he starts tonight remains to be seen. It is more than likely he will be on the bench but he does have a point or two to prove. The arrival of Angel di Maria has pushed his nose out of the team. Prior to those injuries, Flaco’s playing time was limited. But, with the league season kicking off tonight and European competition to resume next month, the fixtures will be piling up.
Tonight, we face a Bastia team who are unbeaten in their last three but do sit precariously above the relegation zone. Their form away from home has been poor this season with zero wins. But, who can forget their 4-2 win over us this time last season? It is something we have been trying to forget! It put Blanc and the team under serious scrutiny, considering we choked in Barcelona and lost to Guingamp just before the winter break.
Blanc spoke on that defeat in yesterday’s pre-match presser. He said; “We had a good first half last season against Bastia, before turning off. It’s not impossible that the same thing could happen again, but I think we are controlling these types of matches better now. We have progressed individually and also as a team. Perhaps the players are better prepared physically, more determined. I think we have improved.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani made up for the defeat with their braces in the 4-0 win against the Corsicans in the Coupe de la Ligue Final three months later.
PSG squad to face Bastia: Trapp, Douchez, Aurier, Van der Wiel, Marquinhos, David Luiz, Thiago Silva, Kurzawa, Maxwell, Matuidi, Thiago Motta, Verratti, Stambouli , Rabiot, Pastore, Lucas, Lavezzi, Cavani, Ibrahimovic, Di Maria.