Friday, 1 February 2013

Toulouse vs PSG: Return from Planet Beckham

After a day of Beckham-mania, PSG are back to the mundane stuff of playing football this evening, heading south for a match with Toulouse.

We've already beaten TFC twice this season, 2-0 in the league back in September and, more recently, 3-1 in the Coupe de France. But despite our recent good record against the southerners, boss Alain Casanova is looking forward to the match:

"They've brought single players for the cost of our entire budget [reportedly €38million], it makes you think," he told L'Equipe. "But at the same time I think it is an invaluable opportunity for Ligue 1 and for all of us.  

"For me this team is the caliber of Barcelona, ​​Real Madrid or Manchester United, even if it has less experience.

"PSG are a locomotive and one that is needed. This is why I do not understand people who are looking for lice in the head."

Lice in the head eh, what a charming expression. I gather he is referring to the cynics who grumble about everything PSG do, and there are plenty of those around.

Casanova continued: "We bowed [lost] at the Parc last week and on that day there was a big difference in level.  

"To beat them, we will have to be much stronger in attack and defend much better. And also hope that Paris is less fit! I have great confidence in my team, and fortunately the PSG are not unbeatable."

Toulouse had a busy transfer window, shipping out Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle) and Emmanuel Riviere (Monaco), and bolstering his attack with the arrival of Brest's promising forward Eden Ben Baset. He could play up front alongside Wissem Ben Yedder, though whether this is part of a larger project to recruit a team of players with Ben as their middle name remains unclear.

The PSG locomotive has undergone a few changes in the engine room (sorry), with Beckham's arrival precipitating the departure of three other midfielders; Adrien Rabiot has joined tonight's opponents on loan, but won't be eligible for the match. It's a probably good for the 17-year-old to go out and get games, as long as he comes back in the summer.

Momo Sissoko has buggered off on loan to Fiorentina - hopefully he won't be back - and Mathieu Bodmer made a temporary move to St Etienne moments before the transfer window slammed shut. Bodmer should be ensured of a warm welcome when he returns to his former employers, ASSE's Rhone Valley rivals Lyon.

Tonight's match will come too soon for Thiago Silva, and he and Alex will be joined on the sidelines by Thiago Motta, who is looking at two-three weeks on the sidelines after picking up an injury against Lille last time out. Marco Verratti will probably deputise. Kick off at the Stadium Municipal tonight is 7.30pm GMT. Allez Paris!


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