Paris Saint-Germain welcome sixteenth place FC Nantes to the Parc des Princes on Saturday for what should be an easy warmup ahead of their crucial matchup against Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League. Les Parisiens will want to win the game in style to prepare for their trip to London but also to keep pace with AS Monaco and OGC Nice, who currently sit above PSG in the table.
Crisis at Nantes
Nantes hasn’t had the best start to the season to put it lightly. Last time out, their supporters made their displeasure known as the team looked set to be on their way to a home loss to Toulouse FC (they tied the match in the 90th minute). The anger in the stands remained and a few supporters tried to make their way into the club president’s box before the police interveined.
Just two points off the relegation zone, it’s easy to understand the turmoil surrounding Nantes. The Canaris have only won three league matches this season and newly signed manager René Girard is already on the hot seat.
Will Jean-Kevin Augustin Finally Get Some Minutes?
Unai Emery made it clear that there will be some rotation of the squad in this game and one area that could look a bit different is the attack. Edinson Cavani’s return from inury to feature for Uruguay during the international break will certainly have been a huge boost for PSG but Emery may want to rest him for this game to keep him fresh for Arsenal. Angel Di Maria could also be held out as he’s not played any matches immediately after the international break since the start of the season.
Emery could start Jesé Rodriguez, Hatem Ben Arfa or Augustin in place of both Di Maria and Cavani.
Augustin is one who has been overlooked for much of the season and Cavani’s injury scare magnified how much the club is reliant on him as the only capable striker on the team. The young Frenchman had come into the season with much promise, starring in the French U-19 European Championship winning side. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been given enough opportunities since the season started.
Amongst all who Emery has tried at center-forward this season in place of Cavani, the former Titi d’Or winner (given to the best player in the PSG academy) has shown to be the most capable so far, scoring a goal in the only game where he was afforded at least 30 minutes to play. The 19-year-old striker deserves his chance and while the huge amount of pressure on the manager is understandable, the game against Nantes would be a good opportunity to grant him some deserved minutes.
Layvin Kurzawa, Alphonse Areola, and Adrien Rabiot will be the only players missing due to injury. Emery also confirmed that Javier Pastore is ready to play but likely won’t see a full 90 minutes.
I expect a routine 3-0 win against a poor Nantes side at the Parc where PSG have shown signs of their best at certain times this season.
— PSG Talk (@PSGTalk) November 19, 2016
Photograph by FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images