10/04/13 – Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain (Champions League Quarter Final)

Barcelona vs Paris Saint-GermainTito Vilanova has two major selection concerns ahead of the visit of Paris Saint-Germain. Lionel Messi is recovering from injury and may be replaced in attack by Cesc Fabregas, who scored a hat-trick at the weekend against Mallorca. In defence Javier Mascherano’s suspension, coupled with Carlos Puyol’s injury, means Vilanova will choose between Adriano, Sergio Busquets and Marc Bartra to partner Gerard Pique.

For Carlo Ancelotti, Blaise Matuidi’s suspension means that David Beckham is likely to continue alongside Marco Verratti, with the semi-fit Thiago Motta offering reinforcements from the bench. In attack Ezequiel should continue in his support role behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic, occupying Busquets before moving forward in attack. Lucas Moura and Javier Pastore will offer invention in the channels.

Barcelona’s injury problems surely give PSG hope, and Ancelotti will believe that the system that stifled the Catalans for much of the first leg and posed an aerial threat throughout can have more success against a side missing their star player and liable to field a makeshift centre back… (Read more)

24/02/13 – Paris Saint-Germain vs Marseille (Ligue 1)

Paris Saint-Germain vs MarseilleCarlo Ancelotti has seemingly adopted a 4-2-2-2 shape at Paris Saint-Germain to include Lucas Moura as an extra playmaker alongside Javier Pastore. The Brazilian is in a race to be fit for Sunday’s game against Marseille – should he fail to recover he could be replaced by Jeremy Menez, or Ancelotti may opt to return to a more conservative 4-3-1-2 shape, with Pastore as the sole playmaker and Clement Chantome coming in as an extra midfielder.

For Marseille, Ellie Baup has no selection concerns and should start with their usual 4-2-3-1 formation.

With Marseille trailing league leaders PSG by five points, the visitors travel to the French capital needing a result, yet knowing a defeat will all but end their title aspirations… (Read more)

12/02/13 – Valencia vs Paris Saint Germain (Champions League Last 16)

Valencia vs PSGThe match ups are interesting – Paris Saint Germain are purely designed to attack through the middle of the pitch, while Valencia’s attacking full backs and wide forwards offer them options down the flanks.

Ernesto Valverde has introduced a more structure 4-2-1-3 system since taking over from Unai Emery, and the added midfield depth will be important against Carlo Ancelotti’s narrow PSG side. Ever Banega plays deeper than his predecessor in the Valencia side Jonas, who operated as a deep forward rather than a midfielder. Jonas now competes for a wide forward spot and will be up against Andres Guardado, who offers a more defensive option on the left… (Read more)