Lorient are the opponents that PSG will hope to defeat in order to stay in touch with leaders Nice going into the new year on Wednesday night. And from the perspective of Unai Emery, he will be hoping he can defend his job for at least a couple more weeks with a win to put behind a dreadful month for him and the club.
Going into Gameweek 19, which marks the end of the first half of the season and the start of the winter break in France, PSG are a huge 7 points off the top of table and haven’t won in the league since November. During this period, Unai Emery has revived a lot of criticism about his system, that has not worked, and his lack of organisation. However the players have all taken their fair share of criticism too. The defence that has been so solid an organised throughout the year has been unrecognisable at times and world class players, especially Angel Di Maria, have been hit by injury and have been going through a rough period of from too.
“We owe it to ourselves to be at 100% every time we play, because our opponents will always be highly motivated against us”
Unai Emery before tonights game
Despite this there have been some promising sights for PSG fans over the last month. Edinson Cavani has been the shining light for Paris in defiance of the collapse going on around him. The Uruguay is currently the leading scorer in Ligue 1 and certainly gives the fans hope, that of the rest of team picks up, they can start to catch up on Nice. Moreover, Marco Verratti had a very impressive game against Guingamp, earning him the highest score in French’s L’Equipe sport paper, and could be the difference and inspiration against Lorient on Wednesday night.
The final opponents of 2016 are Lorient. They are situated at the bottom of the table with only 4 wins in 18 matches and have a goal difference of -13, much to the relief of Paris supporters. Les Parisiens had a perfect record against todays opponents last season too. They own all three encounters, including a 3-1 win at the Parc Des Princes, and Paris will be expected to win again, even though they have been through terrible form.
Nothing less than a win will be acceptable for Emery tonight and a defeat will surely prove the lack of patient from the owners and will result in a new manger for the new year. However, a win should give Emery a couple more weeks to improve, buy new recruits in January and focus on catching up the leaders. Ultimately, this game is crucial for Les Parisiens and emery if he wishes to stay with the club going into 2017.
Most notably, Angel Di Maria is OUT of the squad to face Lorient. The Argentinian has had an impressive year but his performances have been scrutinised by the fans and media recently and is left out of the squad through injury. Jese and Ben Arfa are also still out of the squad and Rabiot and Pastore following their long term injuries they’ve suffered from over the previous weeks. Maxwell is expected to start but without Di Maria there is a place in the front three up for grabs. Ikone, Augustin and Matuidi are the likely candidate to fill the spot.
Predicted Starting XI
(4-3-3) Areola; Aurier, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Maxwell; Motta, Verratti, Matuidi; Lucas, Cavani, Augustin
Subs: Trapp, Kimpembe, Kurzawa, Meunier, Krychowiak, Nkunku, Ikone
PSG 1-1 Lorient