Monday, 17 December 2012

PSG 1-0 Lyon: Blaise-ing a trail to the top of the Ligue

Big Bad Blaise is coming to get you

Blaise Matuidi's first half header was enough to send Paris Saint-Germain back to the top of Ligue 1 after a hard-fought victory over Lyon.

It was a match that put the crap in scrappy, with neither side at their flowing best. But PSG's extra star quality told in the end, and victory in our last game before the winter break - against Breast on Friday - is likely to see us crowned autumn champions for a second successive year. I wonder if they'll give us an actual trophy this time?

"We lost at Nice, and since then, a lot of things have changed," noted Carletto afterwards. "We've now got a solid team that can do things this season.

"Football is sometimes weird: who'd have thought PSG could change attitude in 15 days? The players have worked well and deserve to be top of the table. It's important to be there, but the most important thing is to finish out in front."

Indeed, solid is probably the best word to describe last night's performance. It was a win built on granite foundations, with centre-backs Thiago Silva and Mamadou Sakho in outstanding form, and Matuidi dashing around in midfield like a man possessed.

Elsewhere in the team there was little to get excited about; Pastore did pretty well, and Menez and Lavezzi showed flashes of their quality, but Ibra's involvement was limited to the odd good touch and some thunderous stares at the ref/Lyon defenders/his team-mates.

The visitors, whose squad was decimated by injuries, lined up with five at the back, with Michel Bastos and Anthony Revelliere as roving wing-backs. And it worked pretty well in a first half which they probably shaded. Lisandro was inches away from opening the scoring when he raced in to meet a cross at the far post, but his volley bounced off the inside of the upright and away to safety. OL boss Remi Garde, dressed dashingly in a rollneck sweater and tight trousers, held his head on the touchline.

Up to that point PSG had rarely threatened, with visiting keeper Vercoutre only making one save of note, a parry which foiled Pastore's effort. However we always looked a threat on the counter-attack, and on the stroke of half-time we broke away with devastating effect. Silva robbed Lisandro on the edge of our box, and sent the ball out to Menez. He moved it on quickly to Zlatan, whose cross took a deflection and sat up kindly for Matuidi to power home a header. Big Blaise's joyful, arm-whirling, celebration was a sight to behold and it sent the crowd, who had been booing their team moments before, into raptures.

PSG had done well to keep Lyon at arms length for most of the first half, and it soon became apparent in the second period that the visitors were running out of gas. And as the game wore on it was Les Rouges-et-Bleu who looked the more likely scorers. Ibra was denied a tap-in by a great sliding tackle from Umtiti, Vercoutre blocked an effort from Lavezzi, and Jallet saw a swerving shot flash just past the post.

But in the end Matuidi's goal proved to be enough. It's a shame that Lyon were so depleted, as the game might have been a better spectacle had Gourcuff, Grenier, Briand et al been available. Certainly Garde didn't have many options to make changes when they were obviously required in the second half. If PSG are to go on and win the title this season, the extra squad we have when compared to OL or Marseille might be a decisive factor.

Man of the Match: Thiago Silva - Graceful, decisive defending from the skipper, on this form he and Sakho are a formidable partnership.


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Grants For Single Moms