Week 5 Match Preview: Stade Rennais v Paris Saint Germain 13 September 2014
Ligue 1 action returns this weekend after the international break and les Rouges et Noirs face their toughest test of the season so far as they welcome the current champions to the Stade de la Route de Lorient.
This fixture has not been a happy one for Rennes over the last few years, despite securing victories in Paris in the reverse fixture in the last two seasons. PSG, and key man Zlatan Ibrahimovic, come to Brittany having hit form. The men from the capital secured a 5-0 thrashing of Saint-Etienne in week four with Zlatan netting a hat-trick before he scored a double for Sweden in the international break. Rennes can take some solice from the fact that PSG will probably be without David Luiz in addition to Gregory Van Der Wiel, Serge Aurier and captain Thiago Silva. Whilst a makeshift defence could be a weakness Ola Toivonen and the Rennes attack may look to take advantage of, it is the PSG attack the home side will need to concentrate on most. Along with Zlatan, PSG will be able to reap the benefits of Edinson Cavani, Lucas Moura and the vastly improved Javier Pastore. It is these attacking threats Rennes will have to deal with to the best of their ability.
After an injury scare during the week, Sylvain Armand should be fit to start against his former club. Kamil Grosicki remains a doubt ahead of the kick off on Saturday afternoon. Rennes will have new signing Habib Habibou available and he should play a part in the game. Philippe Montanier has been keen to emphasise the fact he can play out wide, so with Grosicki potentially unavailable, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Habibou start on the right wing. With this in mind, my predicted starting XI for the match would be as follows:
As we have said before, the key for Rennes is how well they can contain the threat of Ibrahimovic. If Pajot and Fernandes can starve his service and Armand and Mexer keep tight to him then there is a chance Rennes can sneak a positive result. Unfortunately this might prove too tough and so it pains me to say that I feel PSG will sneak a one goal win on Saturday. Match report will follow shortly after the final whistle. Please feel free to let me know your thoughts ahead of kick off.
Photo courtesy of http://www.rennes.maville.com.