Tuesday, 27 November 2012

St Etienne vs PSG: Pastore absent for Coupe de la Ligue showdown

If I could be any Ligue 1 manager, I reckon I'd quite like to be St Etienne's Christophe Galtier.

I don't know much about him (he's from Marseille, which is obviously a fairly big downside), but he always strikes me as a pretty cool guy, not least because he looks immaculate on the touchline. Not many people can pull off a puffa jacket in this day and age, but as you can see it looks good on him - sartorially he basically the polar opposite of Elie Baup.

Galtier is a decent football manager too, having guided ASSE to third in the Ligue 1 standings, and masterminded a 2-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc-des-Princes earlier this month. The two sides meet again tonight at the Stade Geoffrey-Guichard, with a place in the Coupe de la Ligue semi-finals at stake, and Les Verts' boss seems quietly confident his men can pull off a surprise.

"We failed at this stage two years ago at Auxerre, but this time it is much better [because] we're at home," he said

"The excitement is there, but I hope that there will not be too much, and we will give 200 per cent in the legs and in the head.  

"If we have the good fortune to qualify, it will be an achievement. Do not be mistaken, it is the Parisians who are favourites."

When will football people learn that you can't give 200 per cent? If he's waiting for that Galtier is going to end up disappointed.

For PSG, Verratti and Alex have joined Bodmer, Motta, and Gameiro on the sidelines injured, but Jezza Menezza is back and could come straight into the starting line-up if Ancelotti decides to give one of Ibra, Lavezzi, or Nene a rest. Nicholas Douchez is set for his customary start in goal.

One man who won't be involved is Javier Pastore, who got the hook at half-time in Saturday's 4-0 win over Troyes after another anonymous 45 minutes.

"At the moment, there is a problem of confidence in him," said Carlo at his pre-match presser. "But the players, they always have confidence in him.

"Everyone needs to help to get him out of this difficult passage. He is professional, focused on his work. I'm sure he'll get out soon."

The problem is El Flaco has been stuck in the difficult passage for a while now, and shows no signs of finding the exit. Like the players, I still have confidence in him, and don't think he's been quite as bad this season as some people would like to make out.

But at the same time it's difficult to see where he fits into the team in the long-term when it's obvious that we play best with a couple of nippy players operating behind or alongside Ibrahimovic. With ongoing rumours of interest from AC Milan, we could soon be reaching a tipping point in El Flaco's career in Paris. 


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