PSG to shuffle team for Caen fixture

Paris Saint-Germain's Spanish head coach Unai Emery. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE

Paris Saint-Germain’s Spanish head coach Unai Emery. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE

Under-fire Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery has a turnaround of just three days from a disappointing Champions League draw to Friday’s Ligue 1 match at Caen.

Emery’s PSG drew 1-1 with Arsenal in their opening Champions League group match on Tuesday, and squad rotation will likely be utilised for the return to league action.

The four-time defending champions currently sit seventh in the 20-team Ligue 1 on seven points, with Monaco, 2-1 winners over Tottenham in the Champions League on Wednesday, blazing the way on 10pts.

A defeat at Caen would see the pressure mount further on Emery, the former Sevilla coach who took over from Laurent Blanc at the end of last season.

Argentinian Javier Pastore, a sub against Arsenal, will likely start along with Lucas and Jese. There are questions marks over Hatem Ben Arfa, who was not included in the squad against the Gunners, with Emery insisting that the starting XI and bench against Arsenal were the “best players to play”.

Layvin Kurzawa is the sole injury doubt in the squad after picking up a thigh injury.

Edinson Cavani opened the scoring for PSG against Arsenal after just 42 seconds, but he was guilty of failing to convert a succession of golden opportunities.

The Uruguayan, seeking to step up and assume the responsibility of leading the attack following the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was given the vote of confidence by PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi.

“He’s one of the best strikers in the world and Im not worried,” said Khelaifi said of Cavani, who has always racked up the goals but also has a habit of conjuring breathtaking misses — he squandered two golden chances to increase PSG’s lead against Arsenal before the interval.

“He scored a lovely goal (against Arsenal) and it’s a shame he didn’t score again afterwards but that’s football for you.”

When asked about the lack of competition for the number nine shirt, Khelaifi said PSG had “other players, two or three very high-quality players on the bench”.

League toppers Monaco host sixth-placed Rennes on Saturday buoyant after their victory over Spurs at Wembley in front of an English club record attendance of 85,011.

Second-placed Nice also have a tight turnaround, hosting Schalke 04 in the Europa League on Thursday before travelling westward along the Mediterranean coast to play Montpellier on Sunday.

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Friday

Caen v Paris Saint-Germain (1845)

Saturday

Monaco v Rennes (1500), Nancy v Nantes, Dijon v Metz, Toulouse v Guincamp, Lorient v Lille, Bordeaux v Angers (all 1800)

Sunday

Montpellier v Nice (1300), St Etienne v Bastia (1500), Marseille v Lyon (1845)



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