Cavani chases PSG centenary, pressure on Nice
Edinson Cavani is in the best form of his career in French football and is targeting his 100th goal for Paris SaintGermain as the reigning Ligue 1 champions entertain Angers yesterday.
Uruguay striker Cavani scored both goals as PSG won 2-1 away to Lyon on Sunday, taking his tally to 99 altogether for the club he joined from Napoli in 2013 for a French record fee of 64 million euros ($67.8m, £54.6m).
Oft-maligned for his ability to miss chances rather than praised for the goals he does score, Cavani appears liberated in the post-Zlatan Ibrahimovic era in the capital and has 18 goals in 17 matches this season. That leaves him fourth in the club’s alltime list, one behind Dominique Rocheteau and also adrift of Pedro Pauleta and Ibrahimovic, with the latter rattling in 156 goals in just four years. “He is our goal-scorer. We just need to give him the confidence to do his job but he always works so hard for the team,” said coach Unai Emery.
PSG welcome mid-table Angers to the Parc des Princes looking to extend a run of 11 games without defeat in all competitions and keep the pressure on in a threeway fight at the top of the table.
Angel di Maria could return after missing the last two games due to injury, while Javier Pastore is also a contender to return but Layvin Kurzawa and Adrien Rabiot should miss out again. Nice have been top of the table since late September but their lead was trimmed to a single point after a weekend on which they were held to a 1-1 draw by Bastia while PSG won and Monaco thumped Marseille 4-0.
They have won just once in five games in November and Mario Balotelli is set to again miss their trip to Brittany to play fifth-placed Guingamp as he struggles with a calf problem. “I am not worried. I just hope that our concentration doesn’t drop and we don’t start believing we have achieved something,” said midfielder Valentin Eysseric. “For the moment we have achieved nothing and it is a very long season.”
MONACO TO ROTATE
Monaco can go provisionally top as they visit Dijon looking to extend a run of eight games without defeat in all competitions.
The principality club, who are the most prolific side in Europe’s big five leagues with an average of over three goals scored per game, are set to rotate their squad in Burgundy in the midst of a hectic fixture schedule. That means midfielder Thomas Lemar, who made his debut for France this month, could return after being rested at the weekend. “We are just a group of friends playing well together,” said Lemar, explaining Monaco’s superb form that has made them genuine title contenders.
“We all know each other’s games and we are not surprised by how we are playing this season. We are fully aware of our qualities.” Elsewhere Marseille are looking for a boost as they visit Saint-Etienne having won just once in five league matches since the arrival of Rudi Garcia as coach.
“We are going to need to win a match quickly,” admitted Garcia on Monday ahead of the meeting of France’s two most successful clubs but who these days lie well off the pace being set by the top three.
Meanwhile, bitter rivals Nancy and Metz meet in the top flight for the first time in eight years and bottom club Lorient host Rennes in a Brittany derby. — AFP
NEW YORK: Bruce Arena, back in charge of the US national soccer team for the first time in a decade, speaks during an interview in New York, yesterday. Arena was hired last week to replace Jurgen Klinsmann as US coach following losses at home to Mexico and at Costa Rica in the first two games in the final round of World Cup qualifying. — AP