Josh Mart previews PSG’s Champions League matchday 5 encounter with Olympiakos at the Parc des Princes. PSG only managed a draw in their previous Champions League game with Anderlecht, whilst Olympiakos impressively beat Benfica in Piraeus.
PSG will have been disappointed with their failure to beat Anderlecht at home last time out, especially as they beat the Belgians 5-0 in Brussels.
With Olympiakos now only 3 points behind PSG, Laurent Blanc will know the importance of a victory here, as if Olympiakos can cause an upset, it puts huge pressure on PSG to go and win in Lisbon whilst Olympiakos host strugglers Anderlecht.
PSG have been in great form in Ligue 1, and they still sit top of the table, with a 4 point advantage over 2nd placed Lille. Les Parisiens won impressively in Champagne country at the weekend, defeating a Reims side that beat them in the corresponding fixture last season.
Olympiakos have also been in breath-taking form in their domestic league and they, like PSG sit top of the table on 34 points. Michel’s men have only dropped 2 points in the league, and they continued their great form with a 4-1 win over Panthrakikos at the weekend.
Squad Selection and Tactics
Laurent Blanc ‘rested’ a few players in the weekends win over Reims and he has a lot to think about ahead of Wednesday’s match.
Captain Thiago Silva is back to full fitness, and having him back can only be positive news for PSG. He could partner Marquinhos at the centre of defence, as games like this will provide great experience for the young Brazilian.
Blaise Matuidi was rested at the weekend, but I expect him to be recalled to the first team, as he provides a lot of dynamism and energy in midfield, something which PSG will need along with the creative talents of Marco Verratti against a good Olympiakos side.
Edinson Cavani was also left out against Reims, but he could be recalled to play alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic to give PSG more potency in the final third.
Olympiakos have a good squad, which are dealing better than normal with balancing Champions League success whilst maintaining their high standards in the Greek Super League.
Coach Michel will probably set his team up in a 4-3-3 formation with the fabulous Mitroglou likely to be recalled to the squad after his heroics for Greece during the international break. Joel Campbell and Weiss are likely to flank him, and this trio could definitely cause PSG problems.
Ndinga is likely to anchor the midfield, supported by Dominguez and possibly Samaris in midfield.
Papadopolous and the highly rated Manolas will start at the centre of defence, protecting goal keeper Roberto who was magnificent in the win against Benfica.
Ibrahimovic (PSG) – Zlatan has been in superb form once again this year, receiving plaudits from every corner of the globe. The enigmatic Swede was unlucky to be on the losing side in the World Cup play-off match against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal last week. Zlatan can create something from nothing, as he has proven so many times this season, so Olympiakos will have to defend very well.
Weiss (Olympiakos) – Despite Kostas Mitroglou attracting all the media attention, Vladimir Weiss has been in brilliant form for the Thrylos this season, creating and scoring important goals. It is a surprise that he never made it in the Premier League, but there will be many suitors if he keeps up his current form.
PSG will know that they will be in for a tough game in this encounter, as Olympiakos need points to help them to qualify for the last 16, which would be a great achievement for the Greek side. PSG will feel that they need to get top spot in the group, to theoretically avoid the ‘bigger’ sides in the knockout stages so avoiding defeat is crucial here. I expect a tight game with PSG edging it.
Prediction: PSG 2-1 Olympiakos