Sunday, 2 October 2011

PSG versus OL: The key match-ups

The PSG lost 2-0 in Spain on Thursday, Athletico Bilbao comprehensively outplaying a mix and match Parisien team in the latest Europa League group match.

A trademark silly lunge from Momo Sissoko which earned the midfielder a red card on his full debut didn’t help matters, and AK was philosophical afterwards.

“We had almost forgotten what it was like to lose and how much we hate defeats,” said the gaffer.

“So now I expect a reaction from my players. Today, all the lights were red. And this will allow us to be more focused, more attentive and have a spirit of revenge.”

Red lights? Spirit of revenge? Woof. Said spirit will be put to the test tonight when Lyon visit the Parc (9pm BST). With the teams level on points, and indeed goal difference, at the top of the table, the match will be a good chance for one of the teams to put a maker down on the title race. Here we look at a few of the individual battles that could swing the match.

Diego Lugano v Bafetimbi Gomis
Big Bafe’ has enjoyed something of a renaissance this season having previously struggled to recreate his St Etienne form for OL. The striker is back in the France squad after netting six goals this season, and will give Lugano plenty to think about. The Uruguayan didn’t have his best game in Bilbao, and will be looking to put that right.

Javier Pastore v Maxime Gonalons
What can be said about El Flaco that hasn’t been said before? Well, quite a lot probably, but even so it’s fair to say that the €42million playmaker has hit the ground at a gallop, with two goals and five assists to his name already in the league since his summer arrival. Keeping him quiet will in part be the responsibility of Lyon’s deep-lying central midfielder Maxime Gonalons, who could be in for a busy evening.

Jeremy Menez v Aly Cissohko
Lyon’s highly-rated left-back was heavily linked with a move away from the Stade Gerland in the summer, with Liverpool, Newcastle, and Juventus all reportedly interested in one-cap French international. He’ll be up against Jeremy Menez on the PSG right, and the former Roma man’s searing pace is bound to put him to the test. Menez hasn’t been the most impressive of the PSG summer signings, but has made several telling contributions already this term.

Salvatore Sirigu v Hugo Lloris
Two of Ligue 1’s best keepers will be on show tonight, and if one of them has a blinder it could be decisive. Ex-Palermo stopper Sirigu has already showcased his top-drawer reactions with several classy saves since arriving at the Parc in the summer, while Lloris (pictured above) is back between the sticks for OL after missing their last match through suspension, and will be eager to make up for lost time.


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