Ahead of Toulouse, Blanc Must Trust Youth

Paris Saint-Germain close out January with five matches in sixteen days—a true test of their focus and squad depth.

The grueling series of matches kicked off last Saturday as PSG traveled to the Stadium Municipal to face struggling Toulouse FC. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late header secured the admittedly undeserved three points for the Ligue 1 leaders but not without a price. Both Marquinhos and Javier Pastore were subbed off due to injury and while they appear to be minor, it exposes the problem PSG have at the center-back position in particular. Thiago Silva is already out due to injury, although it’s reported that he’s close to returning, and David Luiz is not exactly playing at 100 percent either.

With a daunting fixture list ahead of him, Laurent Blanc will be forced to rotate his squad to avoid the injuries that led to the defeat to Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League last season. Blanc failed to utilize Zoumana Camara to give Silva and Luiz a rest and eventually the minutes in league and cup matches led to injuries for the Brazilian duo heading into a crucial Champions League tie.

Presnel Kimpembe was chosen to replace Camara, who retired after last season, as the fourth center-back behind Silva, Luiz, and Marquinhos and Blanc will have to trust the youngster given the upcoming schedule. Despite a rough to the season, subbed off in the 45th minute in the first match he started, the 20-year-old has a golden opportunity to prove he belongs in the team. Recently, Kimpembe was linked with a move to AS Monaco FC but a few appearances for PSG should boost his confidence to remain with the club. Serge Aurier’s ability to play center-back will also help give Silva and Luiz a rest with Gregory van der Wiel filling in at right back.

Toulouse gave Paris Saint-Germain a real scare on Saturday but considering most of the team’s creative players were missing, the round of 32 Coupe de France rematch on Tuesday at the Parc des Princes should be more straightforward. Blanc stated earlier in the season that he wouldn’t be taking the competition too seriously, labelling it as a nuisance, but I believe Blanc will still put out a solid starting XI on Tuesday. I just hope Kimpembe and fellow youngster Jean-Kevin Augustin get some quality minutes to improve their play and give the starters a much needed rest.

Tags David Luiz David Silva Javier Pastore Jean-Kevin Augustin Laurent Blanc Marquinhos Presnel Kimpembe Serge Aurier Zlatan Ibrahimovic