Les Gones and les Parisiens are both trying to bounce back from poor weekend results...
Olympique Lyonnais seemed to be over the worst of their form prior to the weekend. Claude Puel’s side, who were at one stage lingering in the Ligue 1 drop zone, successfully picked up five wins on the trot in all competitions and moved to Arles-Avignon with the expectation of making it six. Against Le Championnat’s bottom side, who had previously picked up just one point this season, OL stumbled to a 1-1 draw.
Once again the pressure has mounted on general manager Claude Puel, who has been under intense scrutiny in the Rhone Valley since the beginning of the season. President Jean-Michel Aulas is set to disclose the former Lille boss’ future after Wednesday evening’s match, so the coach is very much drinking in the last chance saloon.
It may well be that Aulas already has his mind made up. Not a president who likes to sack generals – he has done so only once in his near two-and-a-half-decade long stint in charge of les Gones – it’s likely that OL’s recent resurgence will be enough to keep Puel in a job. Aulas has already proclaimed that he sees the Coupe de la Ligue as an irritant that congests the fixture calendar more than anything else, so even a defeat may not see the end of the defensively-minded manager.
With commitments in the Champions League ahead, as well as a struggle to get back into Ligue 1’s top three, Lyon will not see this match as essential, though against old adversaries PSG, they won’t want to give anything up cheaply.
Unbeaten Run Broken
Paris Saint-Germain are considered one of France’s great sleeping giants. Possessing a catchment like no other in the European game given that PSG are essentially the only major club in one of the continent’s biggest cities, the fact they have not win the league title since 1994 is quite remarkable. They are, however, generally good in the Coupe de la Ligue, claiming the competition three times since it began in the year of their last Ligue 1 title victory.
Poor organisation at boardroom level has been a major impediment for the growth of PSG as a club, though under Robin Leproux steps are being taken to improve this, even if it means angering the club’s core support, many of whom are boycotting fixtures due to the hard-line measures taken by the president to give les Rouge et Bleu a more family friendly image.
On the field, Antoine Kombouare is doing a good job with the side. A disappointing 13th placed finish last term could have been grounds for the sack, but the coach led the club to a Coupe de France success that may have saved his bacon.
Few mistakes are being made this term. The addition of Nene has been a massive plus for the capital side, and the Brazilian played a starring role in PSG’s eight-match unbeaten run in all competitions that only came to an end against Auxerre on Sunday.
Kombouare refused to be too downbeat about the outcome, blaming a poor 20 minute spell for the loss. Indeed, he confidently predicted that les Parisiens can bounce back at the Stade Gerland on Wednesday evening.
Claude Puel goes into this match with a depleted squad. Ederson, Joan Hartock and Cesar Delgado are long-term problems, while they have been recently joined on the sidelines by Jeremy Toulalan and Aly Cissokho.
Midfielder Kim Kallstrom may well be deployed at left-back in a heavily reshuffled side as Cissokho’s understudy, Timothee Kolodziejczak is suspended following a red card with the reserves. Hugo Lloris will definitely be rested, allowing Remy Vercoutre a rare chance to shine in goal.
Antoine Kombouare is set to rotate his side significantly; probably more so than he would for a Europa League fixture. He doesn’t have too many injury issues, with Ceara and Jean-Eudes Maurice still the only players sidelined.