Saturday, 29 September 2012

PSG vs Sochaux preview: Carletto to shuffle his pack?

Paris Saint-Germain welcomed their first celebrity training ground visitor of the season this week when legendary former AC Milan boss Arrigo Saachi (above) popped in to oversee a training session.

You may remember last season’s guests at the Camp-des-Loges included Paolo Maldini, Brazilian Ronaldo and Brazilian singer Michael Telo, so in terms of glamour a 66-year-old bald Italian represents a significant drop in standards. I’m sure normal service will resume shortly – Justin Bieber is doing a gig in Paris in March so expect him to drop by and give the players a rendition of Boyfriend. Remember, you heard it here first. And probably last.

Saachi was Carletto’s boss back when he was the chain-smoking heartbeat of that great AC Milan side of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The pair also worked together at World Cup ’94, where Ancelotti was one of the assistant coaches.

The veteran gaffer, who assembled one of the most formidable defences in recent football history while in charge of Milan, would no doubt approve of PSG’s parsimonious back-line. Just three goals have been conceded in our first six league games, and two of those came in the first half of the opening match against Lorient.

"We want to be competitive in every game we play. People are really watching us," said goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, who had to work hard to preserve his clean sheet against Bastia last Saturday. "When teams play against PSG, they want to do a little something extra.”

Saturday’s opponents, Sochaux, will be keen to do something a bit extra, as last year’s encounter with PSG at the Parc-des-Princes saw them on the receiving end of 6-1 drubbing. Eric Hely’s team are much-changed since then, with star names Modibo Maiga and Marvin Martin having departed in the summer for West Ham and Lille respectively. Tricky midfielder Ryad Boudebouz remains, and made a goalscoring return to the team for the midweek Coupe-de-la-Ligue win over Evian after shaking off a muscle injury.

Much like the Bastia game, it’s difficult to see this match ending in anything other than a PSG win, but it will be interesting to see what sort of team Ancelotti fields, with two higher-profile fixtures - at Porto in the Champions League and Marseille in the league - coming up in the next week.

One man who will definitely be missing is Clement Chantome, who is suspended. With Thiago Motta, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Matthieu Bodmer on the injured list, the time has come for the return of Momo Sissoko, the former Juventus red-card machine having recovered from an injury of his own. Jezza Menezza also looks set to get a rest, with Kevin Gameiro coming in up front alongside Ibrahimovic.

The defence will have to be wary of Cedric Makambu, who has scored four goals in his last two games: "We're going to play PSG now," he said. "They're one of the best teams in Europe - it'll be fun." Let's hope he and his team-mates don't have too much fun when the action gets under-way at 5.30pm tomorrow


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