Thursday, 24 January 2013

PSG 3-1 Toulouse: Coupe de France progression assured as Rabiot eyes move

Paris Saint-Germain booked their place in the last-16 of the Coupe de France with a comfortable victory over Toulouse at the Parc-des-Princes.

We have a good record against Alain Casanova's side in recent seasons, so it was no surprise when Kevin Gameiro shot us into the lead in the eighth minute, profiting from some good work by Blause Matuidi and a low cross from Ezequiel Lavezzi to slot home from eight yards.

Franck Tabanou's header levelled matters against the run of play ten minutes later, but PSG took charge again after half-time. Gameiro had to be withdrawn ("a slight muscle strain" said Carletto afterwards) but his replacement, Jeremy Menez, was in electric form, and spent 45 minutes terrorising the TFC back-line.

Three minutes after the break Jezza's through ball found Javier Pastore in the box, and he finished with the precision and accuracy of Eden Hazard targeting a ball-boy, finding the bottom corner of Olivier Blondel's net.

Lavezzi then wrapped up the victory with a cute first time chip after another beauty of a pass from Menez had split the defence.

"It was a good performance from us, and proves that everyone is able to replace everyone else, even the important guys on the team," noted captain for the night Sylvain Armand afterwards.
"We knew we weren't great against Ajaccio or Bordeaux, but tonight, there were beautiful sequences [of play], everyone enjoyed it. I hope this is good preparation for the match against Lille on Sunday."

Indeed, PSG played some lovely stuff at times, far removed from the slow, stodgy, fare which they've served up since the return from the winter break. Certainly Ancelotti has some decisions to make ahead of the LOSC game, with Pastore and Menez both pressing their claims for a start, and the likes of Zlatan and Lucas Moura, who was on the bench, to return.

Elsewhere, worrying news this morning is that 17-year-old Adrien Rabiot is already keen to leave PSG. The midfielder started a couple of games earlier in the season, but has not featured of late, and West Bromwich Albion and Bordeaux are both reportedly interested.

I think it's very difficult for young players at PSG now - look at the lack of progress made by Neeskens Kebano and Jean-Christophe Bahebeck, currently on loan at Caen and Troyes respectively, since they signed their first professional contracts 18 months ago.

But I think Rabiot is being a bit premature if he does want to go. Not many players are starting every week at his age, and Ancelotti obviously rates him, having selected him ahead of more senior colleagues in the past. QSI always talk about PSG having a youthful focus going forward (the oft-repeated "new Messi's" line), and it would be nice to think Rabiot could be a key part of that.


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