PSG with fitness and form worries ahead of Man Utd tie
PARIS, Feb 8, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain’s meeting with
Bordeaux on Saturday is their last chance to do some fine-tuning before next
week’s showdown with Manchester United, but the Ligue 1 leaders have some
major issues to contend with before heading to Old Trafford.
PSG were the strong favourites when the draw for the Champions League last
16 was made, yet much has changed in the eight weeks since.
United have been revitalised on a run of nine wins and a draw in 10 games
since Jose Mourinho was sacked and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appointed as his
replacement. They are likely to be a fearsome proposition in next Tuesday’s
Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel’s men are a massive 10 points clear at the top of
Ligue 1 with two games in hand on the teams below them as they prepare to
welcome mid-table Bordeaux to the Parc des Princes, and are also through to
the quarter-finals of the French Cup.
However, they needed extra time to beat third-tier side Villefranche-sur-
Saone 3-0 in the Cup on Wednesday, three days after seeing their unbeaten
league record this season ended in a 2-1 defeat at Lyon.
They were knocked out of the League Cup by struggling Guingamp in the
quarter-finals last month, and since then Paris have lost Neymar to a
The Brazilian is not expected back until early April, but the worries do
not stop there.
– Sweating over Verratti –
Looking increasingly irritated of late, Tuchel admitted after the Cup tie
in midweek that some of his squad had played too much football in recent
Saturday’s match will be their ninth of 2019, and Tuchel has too small a
squad to rest certain key players.
“We lack dependable, top quality players,” said the German, offering an
explanation for his side’s struggles against lesser opposition.
“We cannot make the mistake of expecting too much from players like (Eric
Maxim) Choupo-Moting, who have not played much.”
PSG may be one of the richest clubs in the world, spending the two biggest
transfer fees in football history to attract Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in
2017, but the Qatar-owned side have not invested enough in other parts of
The midfield is the greatest concern, even if Argentine international
Leandro Paredes made his full debut against Villefranche after signing from
Zenit Saint Petersburg for 47 million euros ($54 million).
Adrien Rabiot is still frozen out over his refusal to sign a new contract,
while Marco Verratti has not featured in three weeks due to an ankle injury.
He returned to training earlier this week, but it remains to be seen if he
will be fit to face Bordeaux. There are few other options.
“Verratti was unable to finish training (on Tuesday). He has had problems,
and we need to wait to see if he can play against Bordeaux,” said Tuchel on
“He has a different problem now, but I don’t know too much.”
Beating Bordeaux is more about boosting morale than it is about staying
ahead in the title race, with Lille focused on holding on to second place as
they go to bottom club Guingamp.
Impressive in beating PSG, third-placed Lyon are building towards their
Champions League tie with Barcelona on February 19. They go to Nice on
At the other end of the table, struggling Monaco are chasing a second
straight league win as they visit Montpellier.
Fixtures (times GMT)
Dijon v Marseille (1945)
Paris Saint-Germain v Bordeaux (1600), Amiens v Caen, Strasbourg v Angers
Montpellier v Monaco, Nantes v Nimes, Toulouse v Reims (all 1400),
Guingamp v Lille, Rennes v Saint-Etienne (both 1600), Nice v Lyon (2000)