PSG keen to end mini-slump
PARIS (AP) — There seems to be no better way for Paris Saint-Germain to end a slump than hosting Bordeaux in the French league on Friday.
In PSG’s last two matches, it lost to Montpellier and drew with Guingamp.
PSG and Bordeaux are lined up for their fourth meeting of the season, and PSG has won all previous three, including in the season-opening Champions Trophy final, and the French Cup quarterfinals just over two weeks ago.
League leader PSG holds only a three-point lead over Monaco, which travels to play Lorient on Saturday. Meanwhile, Lille has lost touch with the top two and is battling to stay in third place as it prepares for an away game at Nice on Sunday. Here are four things to know about the upcoming games.
CABAYE READY: Yohan Cabaye is impatient to start his PSG career. He scored twice in his last ever game for Newcastle, a 3-1 win away to West Ham on Jan. 18, taking his tally from midfield to seven goals in 19 games this season. “I feel in good form so there’ll be no problem at that level,” said Cabaye, who joined PSG on Wednesday on a three-and-a-half year deal. “I hope I’ll be on the team sheet on Friday.” Cabaye does not think he’s taken a risk leaving Newcastle, where he was an established player, to join a PSG team packed with stars and where, with the World Cup just months away, he will have to fight for a place. “I also took a risk leaving Lille to join Newcastle one year before the European Championship, in a country and a league I didn’t know. But I didn’t hesitate then, either. I believe in myself. It’s up to me to adapt to my teammates and to show them that I belong.”
TURNING THE CORNER? Following three straight defeats, the atmosphere at Marseille grew increasingly tense with the fans turning on the team and some even issuing vitriolic statements calling the players’ motivation into question. Coach Jose Anigo met with some fans on Tuesday and asked for them to get behind the team. They responded and on Wednesday Marseille finally got back to winning ways by beating Valenciennes 2-1 to climb up to fifth place. “There was a tense meeting,” Anigo said. “But I thank the fans. It was beneficial.” Marseille is still eyeing third place — ensuring a place in the Champions League qualifying round — and trails third-place Lille by six points. “In one month, we’ve made up five points on a team that was 11 ahead of us,” Anigo said. “But we’re just doing our jobs. We’re not going to start showing off.”
NO LYON MOVES: Having tried to sell key players during the summer transfer window, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has ruled out any of his players leaving before the transfer window ends on Friday. Aulas says he turned down two offers from English Premier League clubs for sought-after midfielder Clement Grenier and he is still hopeful midfielder Yoann Gourcuff will sign a new contract after some impressive recent performances. “We’ve resisted all the offers we’ve received,” Aulas said. “I would like to thank the players who received them.” Aulas tried to sell striker Bafetimbi Gomis during the summer and the player was even banished to the reserves as he refused to leave. A few months later, things have gone full circle. “He’s turned down two new offers for him, and he’s confirmed to me that he wants to stay until June,” Aulas said.
KHALIFA OUT, ALIADIERE IN? Marseille is weighing up an offer from Qatari club El Jaish for out-of-favor striker Saber Khalifa. El Jaish has reportedly offered 5 million euros ($6.8 million) for Khalifa, who has scored only once in 20 league appearances since joining from Evian in the offseason for half of that amount. If Khalifa leaves, Marseille is poised to sign forward Jeremie Aliadiere from Lorient. Aliadiere, who scored 15 league goals last season, was linked with a move to Marseille before the southern club signed Khalifa.