Javier Pastore has had a season plagued by injury. Whether it was muscular, strains or even conjunctivitis, the Argentine has been unable to string together a consistent run after being named 1970 PSG’s Player of the Season for 2014/15.
Thankfully, the former Palermo man is back in the fold! Having completed 90 minutes in Saint-Etienne last week, as well getting minutes under his belt against Lyon and Montpellier, it seems as if he is on course to finish the season strongly.
Having him back is such a boost. He offers something completely different with his gangly like physique that is so reminiscent to that of former Ballon d’Or winner Kaka. We were on the ropes in Lyon over a week and half ago, heading into the break 2-0 down. But, when he came on after the interval the dynamics of the game did change. We were much more assertive in attack and he was key to that. We needed a playmaker in the middle of the park to orchestrate counter-attacks as well get the ball forward with incisive passes. Even though we would still lose the game 2-1, there is no doubt he gave us a lifeline in getting back into it.
Tomorrow night, is a season definer for Les Parisiens. Progression will equal our last three seasons in reaching the last-eight of the UEFA Champions League, and thus keep the dream alive of bettering it. Never mind what we have done back in France, this group of players are ultimately being judged on what they do in Europe. They are aware of it, as is the coach. And certainly the owners who want progression! We are in a very good position to make it into the quarter-final but this is a big test, despite heading to Chelsea with a 2-1 advantage.
Pastore is going to be key to that if we are to advance. Even though Blaise Matuidi and Marco Verratti have travelled to London, the likelihood of them both starting looks minimal. Pastore stands a very good chance at being part of the midfield trio, especially as he did not play from the beginning at home to Montpellier last weekend. That call made it perfectly clear that he was being saved for Wednesday.
If this turns out to be the case, it will be a season definer for Pastore himself. This has been an extremely frustrating season for him due to injuries but he is without doubt one of our star men. It’s great to have him back and if he can play a hand in our progression tomorrow night, his season can well and truly start and finish on a high!