Monday 25 November 2013

PSG Tourist has moved

Everyone needs a change of scenery once in a while, including bloggers.

As of today, the Paris Saint-Germain Tourist blog can be found at a new home, please update your bookmarks to:

Fear not, the new site will be full of the usual Jezza Menez love lame jokes about Andre Pierre-Gignac being fat made up transfer rumours stupid pictures of Zlatan high-quality and thought-provoking content about PSG and French football. See you there.

MG, 25/11/13

Thursday 7 November 2013

Stupid PSG picture of the week: All I want for Christmas is an Ibra doll

Paris Saint-Germain resumed their role as football’s coupon-busters on Tuesday night when they only managed a 1-1 draw with Anderlecht in the Champions League.

Despite dominating possession, PSG lacked sharpness in both boxes, and Demy de Zeeuw gave the Belgian visitors a shock lead in the 50th minute. Sadly for them it only last two minutes, as Ezequiel Lavezzi and Blaise Matuidi fashioned a chance for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, which he gobbled up at the second attempt after his initial effort had come back off the post.

Even though he scored the goal, his seventh in the Champions League this season, Zlats was not at his best, suggesting that he’s not fully recovered from the knee injury that kept him out of last Friday’s win over Lorient.

But his spirits will have been lifted by the news that he is set to become this year’s must-have Christmas toy.
Yes, forget Furbies, Tamagotchis (what do you mean you already had?) and Buzz Lightyear action figures, this year the kids will all be clamouring to get their hands on a Zlatan doll.

Measuring 35cm and coming with a price tag of €35, the dolls are available in the official clubs stores as well as online at, where you can also purchase a range of other PSG player dolls including Pastore, Cavani and Thiago Silva. I haven’t managed to get my hands on one yet, so can’t confirm whether the Pastore doll is more mobile than the real-life version.

Who wouldn't want to find one of these in their stocking?

Tuesday 5 November 2013

PSG vs Anderlecht: Blanc to bag new contact after impressive start?

Paris Saint-Germain continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 4-0 win over Lorient on Friday night.

Many Bretons have been wearing red caps recently in protest against government tax hikes, but white flags would have been more appropriate for Christian Gourcuff's team in the first half of the match at the Parc des Princes, as PSG sliced through them like a couteau through beurre.

Lucas Moura opened the scoring with an emphatic finish from Lucas Digne's left-wing cross, before Jezza Menezza doubled our advantage with his first goal of the season after great work from Marco Verratti.

Verratti was in sumptuous form once again, dictating the tempo of the match and spraying inch-perfect passes all over the pitch. In fact, so busy was the Italian that he didn't even find time to conduct his usual running battle with the match officials, weird. Anyway, Edinson Cavani, who was playing the central striker's role in Zlatan's absence through injury, headed in a third just before half-time, then added a fourth from close range in the closing stages. PSG barely got out of third gear in the second half, but by then the damage was done, and Monaco's defeat to Lille on Sunday means we now have a three-point cushion at the top of Ligue 1.

Cavani will be absent for tonight's Champions League match against Anderlecht at the Parc des Princes with a slight thigh strain, but sadly for the Belgian side it seems the ringleader of their tormentors from the first leg, Ibra, will be back after shaking off a knee problem. Elsewhere in the team, boss Laurent Blanc has some decisions to make; Thiago Silva is fit again and likely to start the match, so White must choose between Alex and Marquinhos to partner the skipper. Lucas and Menez both impressed against Lorient, but you would imagine it will be one of them, plus Lavezzi, up top with Zlatan.

PSG won 5-0 in Anderlecht a couple of weeks ago, and it's difficult to see any other outcome than a home victory tonight.

"I've heard people say, 'It's difficult to get motivated'. If we're not motivated for this match, I won't understand it at all. It's got nothing to do with the first game," said Blanc, delving into his big book of football manager clichés.

"We have to think that we have the possibility to qualify for the knockout stage of the Champions League. We suffered against Olympiakos, we did what we had to do against Benfica and Anderlecht.

"We can confirm all of that by qualifying, and that's where our motivation should lie. So it's a very important match, perhaps the most important of the group."

Life is pretty sweet for Larry at the moment, and could be set to get even sweeter when he signs a new contract. According to a report in L'Equipe today, President Nasser is considering handing Blanc an improved deal as a result of PSG's impressive start to the season. You may remember that in the summer Blanc signed a two-year contract, but one that was heavily weighted financially towards the first year. The feeling was that the club saw him as a one-season solution as they continued to chase Arsene Wenger.

It is to the former France coach's great credit that his performance so far appears to have changed QSI's minds. There's no doubt he has improved the style of play compared to last season, and in terms of results unbeaten runs in the Ligue 1 and the Champions League are not to be sniffed at. He even seems to have won round some of our sceptical fans who were put off by his previous ties to that lot from the south.

There's a long way to go in the season of course, but if Blanc does get a pay-rise, few would argue that he doesn't deserve it.

Thursday 31 October 2013

The Rumour Mill: Blanc ready to go apple-bobbing for Chelsea ace?

I’m not a fan of Halloween.

Round my way it usually involves vaguely menacing groups of teenagers, who have made minimum effort with their costumes, going door-to-door demanding sweets. Rarely are they grateful, though at least last year I wasn’t threatened with a knife or a gun, so I suppose I should be grateful for small mercies.

Halloween means it’s nearly bonfire night, which means it’s nearly Christmas, which means it’s nearly time for the January transfer window. Hurrah.

Speculation has already started about who will be going where, but Laurent Blanc refused to discuss whether he will be sticking his head into the apple bobbing pool and coming up with Chelsea’s Juan Mata clutched between his teeth.

“The winter window? We'll discuss the period when the transfer window opens,” said a helpful White yesterday.

PSG were linked with Mata in the summer, and with the playmaker still reportedly unhappy at Stamford Bridge, a €35million bid could be on the cards.

A creative midfielder type, preferably left-sided, is top of the club’s shopping list according to L’Equipe, who earlier this week reported than PSG will be trick-or-treating at the doors of German clubs Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 hoping to be given a handful of Haribo and at least one of Arjen Robben, Marco Reus and Julian Draxler.

Robben appeared to pour cold water on the idea of a move to Paris in typically vague fashion.

"It's always an honour when a rich big team [like PSG] show an interest in signing you," he told Bild.

"But everybody knows that I am feeling very well at Bayern at the moment. I don't know anything about the rumour and I only want to think about playing football."

Reus, meanwhile, is also thought to be dans le viseur of Barcelona. Lucky boy.

Not much to report in terms of potential outgoings. Thiago Motta insists he has no intention of dressing up as a slutty nurse and going to a Halloween party at Juventus’s place.

“Today, I'm good here, rumours don't interest me,” said the Brazilian Italian, who obviously won’t be reading this article.

He continued: “I've heard them [the rumours]. I've been told about it, but I'm not interested because I feel good at PSG and I'm concentrating on my work.”

Javier Pastore seems to have been wearing a particularly scary Halloween costume since the summer, when he first started sporting his awful mini-Zlatan ponytail hair cut.

However, this week El Flaco has revealed a new, more conservative barnet, one which may help him land a January move to Liverpool, AC Milan, or Fenerbache.

"Football is made of high and lows,” Pastore’s agent Marcelo Simonian told Le Parisien today, as if gearing up to deliver a lecture. “He (Pastore) has had a good time here. But it’s not the time for nostalgia. We'll see what happens in the coming months.”

Monday 28 October 2013

Saint-Etienne 2-2 PSG: Matuidi's late intervention saves heavy-legged Parisiens

Last season, Saint-Etienne came back from 2-0 down to claim a draw with Paris Saint-Germain in our match at the Stade Geoffrey-Guichard.

This year the roles were reversed, with PSG recovering from a two-goal deficit to leave ‘The Cauldron’ with a point thanks to Big Bad Blaise Matuidi’s last-gasp equaliser against his former club.

"The legs were heavy, and the heads weren't clear either,” said Laurent Blanc, who perhaps should have dispensed some alka-seltzer during his pre-match team-talk.

“I thought four days' recovery [after the Champions League game in Anderlecht] would be enough. But if PSG weren't good it's also because of Saint-Etienne.

“We'd already shown our unity and tenacity at Marseille, and we'll need to have that because not every game will be as easy as the one at Anderlecht or against Benfica. Those are qualities you need to be a great team."

PSG are now unbeaten in open play in 30 matches in all competitions, a run which stretches back to the defeat to Reims last March.

Last night was probably the first time this season where this impressive record looked seriously under threat; we enjoyed plenty of possession, but most of it was in front of the ASSE back four, and for the first hour of the match we rarely hit the kind of tempo which was going to cause Christophe Galtier’s men problems. And at the back, sloppy passing and a lack of communication characterised our play, with mistakes leading to both the Saint-Etienne goals.

Brandao had already gone close when Benjamin Corgnet netted the first goal in the 18th minute. Marquinhos completely miskicked as he attempted to clear a ball in from the right, and Romain Hamouma was able to intercept and pass to Corgnet, who smashed it into the net beyond the reach of the helpless Salvatore Sirigu. Quelle merde, 1-0.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who expected a PSG onslaught to follow this goal, but it never came. Ibra and Cavani were quiet as a pair of agoraphobic church mice, and Lavezzi ran around a lot to no great effect.

Indeed, Sainte could have added to their lead when Fabien Lemoine’s dipping effort beat Sirigu but came back off the cross bar.

PSG started the second half with more vigour, with Ibra driving a low free kick through the wall and just wide, and then winning a header from a Maxwell cross to find Thiago Motta, only for the midfielder to get his feet in a muddle as he was about to shoot.

And then we pressed the self-destruct button again. Sirigu's punch of Yohan Mollo’s cross was a weak one, but Marquinhos should still have had ample time to clear the danger. Sadly the young Brazilian could only kick the ball into the back of Motta, and it rebounded to Hamouma, who had the simple task of lifting the a shot into the unguarded goal, with Sirigu still out of position. Doubler merde, 2-0.

At this point PSG’s unbeaten record looked about as secure as a young tree wobbling about in the face of Storm St Jude, but they were handed a lifeline in the 59th minute when Lemoine was dismissed. Having been shown a yellow card in the first half for a cynical pull back of Lavezzi, Lemoine went in for a clumsy tackle on the same player and picked up a second booking. The midfielder stayed down following the challenge having sustained a cut to the head, but even the blood pouring from his skull could not save him from an early bath.

Blanc threw on Lucas Moura and Jeremy Menez, and Jezza’s direct running certainly gave us an added dimension. Crucially, we pulled one back within three minutes of the red card; a well-worked short corner routine saw Verratti find Maxwell, who got to the byline and delivered a low cross which was touched home by Cavani at the near post. 2-1.

Keeper Stephane Ruffier saved from Moura, while a goal-bound effort from Ibra was deflected wide, but PSG appeared to have run out of time when Matuidi intervened: four minutes of stoppage time had elapsed when the midfielder hoisted a ball into the box which went through Zlatan, Cavani and Ruffier and somehow found its way into the net. It initially looked as though El Matador had got a crucial touch, but replays showed it was Matuidi’s goal, 2-2.

All in all not PSG’s finest hour, but at least we got the point which keeps us ahead of Monaco on goal difference. Now our poor, weary, players have a Champions League-free week to rest their tired little legs before Friday’s meeting with Lorient at the Parc des Princes. Everybody say ahhhhh.

Man of the Match: Blaise Matuidi - Kept going for 90 minutes and was rewarded with the equaliser.

Thursday 24 October 2013

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Anderlecht vs PSG: Blanc vows not to take Champions League opponents lightly

I've been to Belgium once in my life, on a school trip when we visited the battlefields at Ypres.

While we were of course reverent of the great sacrifices made by the soldiers in the trenches during World War One, like most groups of kids on a school trip we were more interested in buying large quantities of sweets and locking Steve Gignac (name changed for legal reasons) in the coach toilet.

Paris Saint-Germain are in Belgium today, but coach Larry White insists there will be no such larking about ahead of tonight's Champions League match with Anderlecht.

"There is always the risk that you might underestimate your opponents when you come off the back of a good match in your championship and you have won your first games in the Champions League," said Blanc.

"That can lead to complacency. But if I see that my players are too relaxed at the start of the match, I will try to make sure that doesn't last long. I have warned the players that every team wants to beat PSG. No match will be easy."

Be that as it may, some matches are easier than others, and PSG go into tonight’s clash with the Belgian champions as overwhelming favourites. I won’t profess to be a Belgian football expert, but I can read a league table, and it tells me that Anderlecht are fifth in the JPL standings, six points behind table-topping Standard Liege.

Having lost top scorer Brzi Mbokani to Dynamo Kyiv in the summer, John van der Brom’s side rely on Argentine striker Matias Suarez for goals, supported by promising midfielder Massimo Bruno and American Sacha Kljestan. In defence they may field Paris-born Fabrice N’Sakala, latterly of Troyes.

“We will play against a star team,” said Van der Brom. “That is an honour, but also a challenge for a young team like ours to try to achieve something. That is nice.”

Hope the Anderlecht players don’t get their autograph books out half-way through the match.

Van der Brom continued: “Before a match I always say you have to try to win, but in this case that obviously is not easy. This is a really tough task for us. On the other side, there is always a chance; if PSG think too lightly about it, and we have a super day, then we could spring a surprise, and that is what you hope for as a coach.”

Hoping to stop Anderlecht enjoying a super evening will be Ezequiel Lavezzi, who is set to start up front alongside Zlavani. PSG are without the injured Jallet and Pastore, but Thiago Motta and Marco Verratti are likely to return to midfield after serving domestic suspensions at the weekend.

Thiago Silva is back in training following his thigh injury, but not yet fit to return, so Marquinhos and Alex will continue in central defence.

Kick off at the Constant Vanden stadium is at 7.45pm.

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