Paris Saint-Germain defeated Ligue 1 bottom-dwellers FC Nantes 2-0 at the Parc des Princes last Saturday thanks to goals from Angel Di Maria and Jesé Rodriguez. The win helped PSG keep pace with AS Monaco and OGC Nice at the top of the table but did little to prepare the reigning French champions for their trip to London on November 23 to face Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League and injuries could come back to haunt them.
Paris were lethargic for long stretches of the game—especially in the second half—and Unai Emery only made minor changes to his starting lineup. Youngsters Presnel Kimpembe and Jean-Kevin Augustin featured but left on the bench were Hatem Ben Arfa, Grzegorz Krychowiak, and Thomas Meunier, all players who would have expected to start against a weak opponent ahead of a big Champions League match. Emery’s decision backfired though as both Di Maria and Javier Pastore (who was subbed on in the 82nd minute) both picked up injuries. El Flaco, who left with a thigh injury, is a serious doubt to face the Gunners on Wednesday.
Kevin Trapp wasn’t called upon often but he did record his second straight shutout (PSG’s fourth consecutive) in relief of injured Alphonse Areola and Jesé’s goal—a penalty shot that was won by Pastore—was his first in a PSG shirt.
Les Parisiens did just enough to secure the three points against Nantes but given their form and injuries, I would say PSG head to the Emirates as underdogs to defeat Arsenal and finish top of Group A. Emery’s decision to not rest key players not only led to injuries but could set up a difficult path in the Champions League.
Take a look back at PSG’s win over the Canaries with some of our favorite images:
Photographs by FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images