After a week free of matches, Paris Saint-Germain look to shake off the rust as they travel to the new Parc Olympique Lyonnais to face Les Gones for the fifth time this season. A win will extend their unbeaten run in the league and a good performance from a few could secure their place in the starting lineup for future matches.
Paris, much like Lyon, will not be at full strength for this one. Angel Di Maria and Marco Verratti were not in training all week after picking up injuries against Stade de Reims last Saturday and with the UEFA Champions League match against Chelsea coming up on March 9, Laurent Blanc isn’t taking any chances with arguably his two best players. Also missing from the squad is Serge Aurier, whose much publicized comments on social media has led the club to ban him to the reserves until late March. Lyon will be without former Paris defender Christophe Jallet and Clement Grenier, who both picked up red cards against Lille last week.
We are very motivated for the match against Lyon who are one of France’s best sides, who dominated the championship for a long time and boast a very colourful president. We will also be playing in their new stadium for the first time… these are all factors that motivate us.—Laurent Blanc
It’s not all doom and gloom for Paris though as Parc favorite Javier Pastore returns to the squad after a brief layoff due to injury. His return should give the team a boost in the midfield and with Di Maria out, El Flaco should find plenty of opportunity to display his dazzling passing skills.
Di Maria’s absence means Lucas Moura and Edinson Cavani will most likely start alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front and both have the opportunity to impress Le President. It will be an interesting battle within the battle as Cavani has scored in each of PSG’s last two games and Lucas has been in form as well. The next three games will determine who gets the start at Stamford Bridge for what is the most important match of the season thus far.
Lyon are unbeaten in their last five home encounters with PSG, including four wins, and prior to their loss against Lille, they had won their previous three Ligue 1 matches by a combined 10-1. Lyon also come into the match with the extra motivation of being just two points off the final Champions League place.
Prediction: I expect Lyon to ask a few questions of PSG, especially early as the crowd will be up for this one, but in the end it should be a fairly routine win for the Parisians despite the absentees. Look for Ibrahimovic to continue his stellar form and add to his impressive goal tally and hopefully Kevin Trapp can get through the 90 minutes without another howler.