Les Parisiens won this trophy last season after defeating Bastia, but they will be taking on a team in a rich vein of form. Since Frederic Antonetti took over as Lille’s coach back in November, Les Dogues have had a remarkable turnaround in their fortunes. They will come into this game having won their past six Ligue 1 matches, with their last loss taking place on February 27th against Montpellier.
In addition, Antonetti has guided Lille into the finals of the Coupe de la Ligue, which, even if they cannot win it on Saturday, is a notable achievement in itself. The visitors have never made it this far in this competition in their entire club’s history. However, the question is: Can they overcome the reigning champions in what will be a tough 90 minutes to lift the trophy?
Meanwhile, despite already clinching the Ligue 1 title, this campaign will still go down as a disappointing one for PSG. Les Parisiens were hoping to finally make their mark in Europe after already conquering France. Unfortunately, for the fourth straight term, they crashed out at the quarter-finals stage. This latest exit has fueled rumors about Laurent Blanc’s future and it remains to be seen as to whether there will be any managerial changes taking place this summer.
One high point, though, for this match will be the long-awaited return of Marco Verratti. The Italian international has been sorely missed due to a long-term injury layoff. Despite his young age, he has already been earmarked as the “next Pirlo” due to his creativity and tactical nous in the middle of the park, and one can only wonder how PSG would have fared had he been available for their Champions League knockout campaign.
Of course there is that fact that had Les Parisiens been a tad more clinical, a tad more efficient, perhaps it could have been them taking their place in the final four, and their dreams of a quadruple would be very much still intact.
However, he has not played in months, so fans should not expect the former Pescara man to feature from the start. PSG are already in the Coupe de France final as well, so a win today will complete part two of their domestic Treble. It will be an achievement in itself, but there will be a nagging wistful feeling permeating through the PSG crowd – especially with Champions League action taking place next week.
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