Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Emery: Ben Arfa could play as striker with Cavani out

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 5 Aug 2016

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Paris Saint-Germain boss Unai Emery could use Hatem Ben Arfa as a central striker in the absence of Edinson Cavani when his team take on Lyon in the Trophee des Champions.

Cavani is set to lead PSG’s attack this season following Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s move to Manchester United, but he will miss Saturday’s game in Austria with a hamstring problem.

That leaves Emery with a selection dilemma for his first competitive match in charge, but he is calm about the prospect of handing Ben Arfa a centre-forward role on his debut, or deploying promising teenager Jean-Kevin Augustin.

“Edinson Cavani has a little muscle strain and it was better that he remain in Paris to receive treatment, so as not to miss the start of the season,” the former Sevilla boss said at his pre-match media conference.

“We have options, Hatem Ben Arfa can play everywhere in attack – he knows how to do it and he proved it last season. 

“Jean-Kevin Augustin has been training well and is coming off an excellent Euro with the France Under-19 side, and he is also a possibility. We must choose the best solution for the team.”

PSG are also without captain Thiago Silva (hip) as they look to win the Trophee for a fourth straight season against last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up, who they also beat in the 2015 edition.

Emery added: “I think Lyon will be a team we have to watch all season. There is also a rivalry between the two sides so this makes for an exciting game in prospect.

“For me, and for everyone at the club, this is a very important match. It’s the first official match of the season and the last before the start of the league – it’s important for us and the supporters. 

“We are very motivated, we want to start with a win and this match will let us measure where we’re at before the start of the championship.

“I don’t like talking about favourites. What counts is on the pitch. There is always pressure, especially as Paris have won the last three editions. I have a lot of respect for the work that has been done here in recent seasons, and now we must continue progressing.”

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