Tuesday, 5 November 2013

PSG vs Anderlecht: Blanc to bag new contact after impressive start?

Paris Saint-Germain continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 4-0 win over Lorient on Friday night.

Many Bretons have been wearing red caps recently in protest against government tax hikes, but white flags would have been more appropriate for Christian Gourcuff's team in the first half of the match at the Parc des Princes, as PSG sliced through them like a couteau through beurre.

Lucas Moura opened the scoring with an emphatic finish from Lucas Digne's left-wing cross, before Jezza Menezza doubled our advantage with his first goal of the season after great work from Marco Verratti.

Verratti was in sumptuous form once again, dictating the tempo of the match and spraying inch-perfect passes all over the pitch. In fact, so busy was the Italian that he didn't even find time to conduct his usual running battle with the match officials, weird. Anyway, Edinson Cavani, who was playing the central striker's role in Zlatan's absence through injury, headed in a third just before half-time, then added a fourth from close range in the closing stages. PSG barely got out of third gear in the second half, but by then the damage was done, and Monaco's defeat to Lille on Sunday means we now have a three-point cushion at the top of Ligue 1.

Cavani will be absent for tonight's Champions League match against Anderlecht at the Parc des Princes with a slight thigh strain, but sadly for the Belgian side it seems the ringleader of their tormentors from the first leg, Ibra, will be back after shaking off a knee problem. Elsewhere in the team, boss Laurent Blanc has some decisions to make; Thiago Silva is fit again and likely to start the match, so White must choose between Alex and Marquinhos to partner the skipper. Lucas and Menez both impressed against Lorient, but you would imagine it will be one of them, plus Lavezzi, up top with Zlatan.

PSG won 5-0 in Anderlecht a couple of weeks ago, and it's difficult to see any other outcome than a home victory tonight.

"I've heard people say, 'It's difficult to get motivated'. If we're not motivated for this match, I won't understand it at all. It's got nothing to do with the first game," said Blanc, delving into his big book of football manager clichés.

"We have to think that we have the possibility to qualify for the knockout stage of the Champions League. We suffered against Olympiakos, we did what we had to do against Benfica and Anderlecht.

"We can confirm all of that by qualifying, and that's where our motivation should lie. So it's a very important match, perhaps the most important of the group."

Life is pretty sweet for Larry at the moment, and could be set to get even sweeter when he signs a new contract. According to a report in L'Equipe today, President Nasser is considering handing Blanc an improved deal as a result of PSG's impressive start to the season. You may remember that in the summer Blanc signed a two-year contract, but one that was heavily weighted financially towards the first year. The feeling was that the club saw him as a one-season solution as they continued to chase Arsene Wenger.

It is to the former France coach's great credit that his performance so far appears to have changed QSI's minds. There's no doubt he has improved the style of play compared to last season, and in terms of results unbeaten runs in the Ligue 1 and the Champions League are not to be sniffed at. He even seems to have won round some of our sceptical fans who were put off by his previous ties to that lot from the south.

There's a long way to go in the season of course, but if Blanc does get a pay-rise, few would argue that he doesn't deserve it.


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