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PSG coach Blanc has thinking to do after disappointing draw

07 April 2016, 21:32

Paris - Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc has a lot of thinking to do before the Champions League quarterfinal return leg away to Manchester City next week.

Wednesday's 2-2 home draw against City puts PSG in a difficult position as the French champion bids to reach the semifinals for only the second time in its history, having been knocked out in the quarters for the past three seasons.

The performance against City put Blanc's tactical choices and his defense firmly in the spotlight.

Also read: Suarez sparks Barca’s seven-game Atletico winning streak

Brazilian center halves Thiago Silva and David Luiz both looked febrile when put under pressure, with Luiz being caught straying well out of position and then frantically backtracking for the first goal and Silva involved in a mix-up with right back Serge Aurier on City's equalizer.

Blanc's selection of Aurier also raised questions. He had only returned to the squad after being suspended by the club for insulting Blanc and some teammates during a rant on social media and clearly lacked fitness for such a big game.

Here are some things to know about this weekend's games:


Paris Saint-Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimovic needs one goal away to Guingamp on Saturday to establish a career record.

The Sweden striker has 30 league goals so far, matching the tally he achieved with PSG three years ago in his first season with the club.

In his last five games for PSG, Ibrahimovic has scored nine goals — including two hat-tricks.

But with PSG facing a massive game away to Manchester City in the return leg of their Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday, coach Laurent Blanc may well rest him.


Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette is peaking late in the season and his goals are coming at just the right time as Lyon closes in on second place.

Inconsistent during much of the season, Lacazette has scored six goals in the past four games to help move third-place Lyon within three points of Monaco.

Lacazette, who was last season's top scorer in the league with 27 goals, now has 16.

"I have set myself a goal target, but I won't say what it is," Lacazette said after scoring twice away to Lorient last weekend.

While Lyon is away to struggling Montpellier on Friday night, Monaco has what looks to be a more difficult game away to seventh-place Lille on Sunday.

Lyon hosts Monaco in the penultimate game of the season.


Marseille's Spanish coach Michel was reportedly on the brink of getting fired with the club hovering just six points above the relegation zone.

Form has been so bad that Marseille has lost three and drawn five of its past eight league games.

But Marseille's owner Margarita Louis-Dreyfus met with Michel and club president Vincent Labrune earlier this week and gave Michel her backing until the end of the season.

Marseille has not won a league game at home since beating Bastia on Sept. 13 and when the team last played at Stade Velodrome three weeks ago, the fans turned on the players in a hostile atmosphere.

Marseille's saving grace this season could be the French Cup. It will play second-division Sochaux in the semifinals later this month.


Nice winger Hatem Ben Arfa's performances have been eye-catching this season and Italian club AC Milan is reportedly keen to sign him next season.

Ben Arfa has scored 13 goals in 28 games this season and several of those have been spectacular, including last weekend's solo effort in a 4-1 defeat away to French champion Paris Saint-Germain.

Collecting the ball some 40 meters out, Ben Arfa surged forward, dribbled with ease past center half David Luiz, and then hit a curling shot from the edge of the penalty area into the top corner.

The rumors of a summer move to Italy were increased when Nice coach Claude Puel recently told Italian newspaper Tuttosport that the 29-year-old Ben Arfa is "a magnificent footballer who is obviously suited to Serie A."

- AP


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