Thursday, April 26, 2018

Paris Saint-Germain v Toulouse: Champions aim to keep unbeaten league run alive without Verratti

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 5 Nov 2015


Paris Saint-Germain welcome Toulouse to the Parc des Princes on Saturday without one of their key playmakers in Marco Verratti.  

The defending Ligue 1 champions are already 10 points clear at the top of the table, having taken 32 points from the first 12 games.

Yet, while PSG remain unbeaten in domestic action, Real Madrid finally handed Laurent Blanc’s men their first loss of the campaign at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.

Real claimed a 1-0 win in the Champions League Group A clash in the Spanish capital, Nacho’s 35th-minute goal settling the encounter.

And the reverse was doubly costly for PSG, with Italy midfielder Verratti suffering an ankle injury serious enough to see him miss the visit of Dominique Arribage’s struggling side.

However, PSG should still have enough to see off Toulouse, particularly with a number of big players receiving fitness boosts.

David Luiz made his return from a knee injury against Real and Javier Pastore (illness) and Marquinhos (thigh) are back in training ahead of this weekend’s encounter.

Toulouse are without suspended midfielder Yann Bodiger, while Tongo Doumbia is expected to miss out because of a thigh strain and goalkeeper Mauro Goicoechea has a hand injury.

With just one league win to their name this season, Toulouse are second bottom and appear primed for another relegation fight, having narrowly avoided the drop last term. 

History suggests the visitors’ fortunes are unlikely to change given that Toulouse have not claimed an away win over PSG since 2008, when a Zoumana Camara own goal proved enough to take all three points.

One bright spot for Toulouse has been the form of striker Martin Braithwaite, who has found the net five times in the league this term.

His form is in stark contrast to that of Wissam Ben Yedder, the 24-year-old scoring just one goal in 10 league appearances so far in 2015-16.

Braithwaite said of Ben Yedder: “It is not just him who encounters difficulties, but the entire team.”

Denmark international Braithwaite admits confidence is low in the Toulouse camp as a result of their poor run, but has called on his team-mates to put thoughts of their league position to one side as they attempt spring a significant surprise.

“When we play against Paris Saint-Germain it’s difficult everywhere,” Braithwaite said.

“We are lacking confidence so it’s hard to play our best football. We should not focus on the table but more on our game.”


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