Friday, 24 February 2012

Carlo's Lyon conundrums

It never ceases to amaze me how French football fans don't travel.

PSG will be followed south to Lyon tomorrow by nearly 1,000 supporters, their largest away contingent of the season. To put that into context, my "other" team, who play in the fifth tier of English football, took 1,100 supporters to an away match last month. Can you imagine if Manchester City could only muster that many people for a match at Chelsea? Madness, especially when you consider how passionate they are at home games.

Anyway, well done to all those going, it's quite a long way and promises to be a difficult match, despite Lyon's current ropey form. I was over in France last week and the papers were not impressed as OL snuck past Cypriot minnows Apoel 1-0 in the Champions League. Sunday's 1-0 defeat to Bordeaux came as no surprise either.

Nevertheless PSG weren't exactly on fire themselves against Montpellier, and Carlo Ancelotti has choices to make in every area of the team, apart from in goal where Salvatore Sirigu reigns supreme (sorry Douchez).

The main problem for Carletto is at right-back, with Bisevac and Jallet both out injured, and Ceara struggling with a virus. Had he been fit, I don't think Bisevac would have been an automatic choice anyway given his struggles against Montpellier, but with all three players out options are limited, and I suspect unless Ceara recovers Sylvain Armand will get the nod in an unfamiliar role. I suppose Siaka Tiene is an option too.

Matthieu Bodmer should be back after injury, which is a great relief because without him a midfield three of Matuidi, Sissoko, and Motta looked decidedly one-paced against Montpellier. I don't want it to seem like I'm always hating on Sissoko, but I struggle to see what he gives to the team to justify his position as one of the squad's top earners. Bodmer brings a bit more attacking intent to the side, and has the ability to link with the front three, but it will be interesting to see whether he returns or whether Ancelotti hands a start to Javier Pastore. Pastore could also come in as part of one of the upper tiers of the Christmas tree, but dropping either Menez or Nene would be a bit harsh.

Kevin Gameiro's post-Christmas slump has been well documented, and it's hardly a surprise given that the poor bloke couldn't be less suited to a lone striker's role. Guillarme Hoarau on the other hand has all the tools to play up top on his own, and if I were in charge he would be starting at the Stade Gerland, especially after his late equaliser last week. You're always likely to see less of the ball in away games, so having Hoarau's physical presence to hold the ball up and allow others to break forward can only be a good thing. Super Kev is a great player, and it would be nice to see him and Hoarau both in the team at once at some point, but I doubt that point will be tomorrow.

Decisions decision. Montpellier are hosting aforementioned Ligue 1 form-team Bordeaux, so this could represent a good chance to put stretch our lead a little bit. If it doesn't all got seins up that is. Allez Paris!


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